What I’m Hearing: October baseball just went into overdrive . Bob Nightengale explains how the 16-team postseason will work for MLB.


Major League Baseball’s 2020 season officially began Thursday night but with 14 games on the schedule Friday, we’ll call this Opening Day proper.

And with a 60-game season and expanded playoffs, it’s going to be a year unlike any other.

Friday’s slate begins at 4:10 p.m. ET with the Mets and Braves facing off at Citi Field. Elsewhere, the Cubs host the Brewers (7:10 p.m.) and the Diamondbacks visit the Padres (9:10 p.m.) in a series that could already shape the course of those division races.

Some other big stories today include White Sox phenom Luis Robert making his big-league debut, Madison Bumgarner’s Arizona debut and the Astros’ first competitive game since the cheating scandal that dominated the offseason.

Stick around for updates and highlights from Friday’s games (all times EST):

Cespedes homers in return (6:05 p.m.)

Playing his first game in more than two years, Mets slugger Yoenis Cespedes hit a solo home run in the seventh inning off Atlanta’s Chris Martin, breaking the ice in a scoreless game. Cespedes, 34, is the team’s designated hitter on Friday but hadn’t played in a regular-season game since July 20, 2018 due to heel and ankle injuries.

The Mets held on to win 1-0.

deGrom dealing (5:25 p.m.)

Mets ace Jacob deGrom is removed after pitching five shutout innings (85 pitches), giving up one hit with eight strikeouts. Naturally, the Mets didn’t score a run for the two-time reigning Cy Young winner – but JD Davis did his best, getting robbed of extra bases by Braves center fielder Ender Inciarte with a runner on base in the fifth.

Play ball (4:15 p.m.)

We are underway! In a battle of NL award contenders, Jacob deGrom struck out Ronald Acuña Jr. to start the day.

COVID-19 test results (3:50 p.m)

MLB announced its latest COVID-19 test results, with six of 10,939 tests coming back positive in the past week. The league said that four of the positives were players and two were staff members.

Luis Robert set to debut (3:15 p.m.)

In early lineup news, Luis Robert is batting seventh and starting in center field for the White Sox. The 22-year-old signed a $50 million extension in the offseason – that could be worth $88 million – before even playing a game in the majors.

“He’s got all the tools. When somebody signs a pretty good deal before they even get to the big leagues, then you know they’ve got a real shot to be special,” White Sox starter Dallas Keuchel said of Robert.  “And he knows that, which is great. But he also puts in the work”


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