Red Sox make five appearances on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball in 2020

Boston Red Sox jersey (Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images)
Boston Red Sox jersey (Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images) /

ESPN has released its Sunday Night Baseball schedule for the 2020 season which includes five games for the Boston Red Sox.

The Boston Red Sox are featured prominently on the Sunday Night Baseball schedule released by ESPN, with five appearances already slated for the 2020 season.

Boston is tied with the New York Yankees with five appearances on Sunday Night Baseball. The Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals both have four.

The Red Sox will make their first SNB appearance on May 10 when they travel to the Bronx to face the Yankees. Two weeks later, Boston will host the Houston Astros at Fenway Park on May 24.

SNB will feature the Red Sox in consecutive weeks in June. The first is another meeting with the Yankees on June 14. The Red Sox-Yankees rivalry joins the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants as the only teams to appear against each other twice on next year’s SNB schedule.

The Red Sox are in primetime again on June 21 when they travel to Chicago to face the Cubs at Wrigley Field. The Cubs host the Yankees in the SNB game a week later.

The initial schedule released by ESPN only runs through July 19, after which point they will make selections for the remaining telecasts at least two weeks in advance. This allows them to remain flexible enough to ensure the contending teams are featured in the game of the week late in the season.

The lone exception is the MLB Little League Classic between the Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles that is already scheduled for August 23.

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The biggest surprise on the schedule is the notable absence of the World Series champion Washington Nationals. The New York Mets received three games on SNB despite missing the postseason last year while the NL East champion Atlanta Braves are featured once. The Nats won’t be the same team next year if they lose Anthony Rendon and Stephen Strasburg to free agency but you would think that being the reigning champs would be enough to warrant one appearance on the primetime slate.

The Minnesota Twins, Tampa Bay Rays, and Oakland A’s are also missing from the schedule. Clearly, ESPN is favoring market size to draw an audience over team success.

Despite missing the playoffs last season, the Red Sox remain one of MLB’s premier franchises. Their roster is loaded with enough star power to draw in the casual viewers to boost ratings, which helps explain why ESPN packed several of their games into the schedule.

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The Red Sox roster may undergo a shakeup this offseason as the team aims to cut payroll but they also intend to compete in 2020. If their underperforming starting pitchers bounce back, assuming they don’t get traded, Boston should be back in the playoff hunt next season. In that case, they deserve their fair share of nationally televised games.