During the lockout Rob Manfred announced the that first two series of the 2022 season were cancelled. As it turns out, the announcement was more of a guideline than a rule. With the negotiations concluded on a new CBA, the very same Rob Manfred announced that a 162-game schedule, previously impossible because of “deadlines,” would indeed be played this year.
For the Red Sox those first two series were against American League East rivals: the Tamps Bay Rays to open the season (originally March 31 to April 3) followed by the Baltimore Orioles (originally April 4-6). All were to be played at Fenway Park. So, to some degree, this is a blessing in disguise for the fans who would be sitting outside in variable April weather compared the much more predictable weather of early October.
The opening series against the Rays will be played after the originally scheduled conclusion of the regular season, on October 3-5. The games on the 3rd and 4th are slated to start at 7:10 PM. The game scheduled for October 5th is listed as TBD. Perhaps MLB will once again have all the games start at about the same time for once last, manic push of baseball madness. So this will likely be an afternoon game on a Wednesday in October. In 2004, the Red Sox faced the Angels in the ALDS on October 5th. Last year that was the date of the Wild Card game against the Yankees. A World Series ending in early November isn’t the worst thing in the world, but it’s a sign of how things will go with the new expanded postseason and three game Wild Card round of the new CBA.
While the Rays series is easily slotted at the end of the season the four-game set against the Orioles will be made up in pieces: the first two games as a doubleheader on May 28 with additional games on mutual off-days August 11 and September 26.
Again, fans will likely appreciate the change in schedule pushing the home opener back to April 15th from March 31st and shifting the opponent for the season opener to the New York Yankees in the Bronx. Even if the Blue Jays are starting to look like the class of the AL East, a Yankees series is always fun.
The final month of the season includes 15 games against the AL East teams not from Baltimore (and seven games against the Orioles), so divisional play will be important and we may have no idea what the playoff picture will be until those last games are over. Play the AL East well and punch your ticket.
Today is the first game of Spring Training and in three weeks Opening Day!