After announcing their first month of games earlier this month, both the Central and Pacific Leagues revealed the remainder of their schedules for the 2020 season on Monday.
After opening the year with a three-game series as usual, PL teams were scheduled to then play series featuring six straight games against the same opponent during the first month of the season. This was done to limit travel and minimize the risk of players and staff contracting COVID-19.
According to the newly announced schedules, PL teams will continue to play six-game series through Aug. 23.
The Pacific League will finish its season on Nov. 6, while the CL is scheduled to end one day later, though games could be played beyond that date in the case of rainouts.
Teams in both leagues will play 120 games.
The most notable difference between the two leagues will be the postseason format.
While the CL decided to completely eliminate the Climax Series this year, the PL will have the top two finishers from its regular season compete for a ticket to the Japan Series.
In the revised format for the PL Climax Series, which begins Nov. 14, the two teams will play a maximum of four games, with the first-place club opening with a one-win advantage. The first to reach three wins will advance to the Japan Series, which is scheduled to start Nov. 21.
Kazuhide Kinefuchi, director general of the CL, said on Monday that with the season already having been pushed back by three months, the league had to make difficult decisions in order to create the 2020 calendar. He explained the decision to eliminate the Climax Series was due in part to just two of the league's six clubs (the Yomiuri Giants and Chunichi Dragons) regularly playing in domes, making it unclear how many games could potentially be rained out.
“We recognize that in league representative meetings there were opinions that the Central and Pacific Leagues should play under equal conditions, and the commissioner (Atsushi Saito) has also said so,” Kinefuchi said during an online news conference. “However, we had to differ because of our different circumstances.
“It’s unfortunate, but we believe each league has made the best decision it could possibly make.”
Both leagues also decided to not compete outside of venues that are regularly used for NPB games this season.
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