Astros to play two exhibition games against Royals next week

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - JULY 03: A general view of Kauffman Stadium during the first day of MLB Summer Camp workouts on July 03, 2020 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - JULY 03: A general view of Kauffman Stadium during the first day of MLB Summer Camp workouts on July 03, 2020 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) /
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The Houston Astros will play two exhibition games in Kansas City next week.

As they prepare to begin the 2020 season, the Houston Astros won’t just be playing against each other. They will be traveling to Kansas City next week to play two exhibition games against the Royals on July 20 and 21. They’ll have a couple days off after that before the season opener on July 24 at Minute Maid Park against the Mariners.

The Monday, July 20 game will start at 7:05 p.m., while the Tuesday, July 21 game will start at 1:05 p.m. CT. There’s no word yet on whether these games will be televised, but considering many teams (including the Astros) are streaming their intrasquad games live online, I would think there’s a possibility these games are streamed online as well.

Notably, these two teams will not face each other in the regular season due to the altered 60-game schedule limiting Houston to facing teams in the AL West and NL West divisions. However, Kansas City is geographically closer than many of the cities the team will be traveling to this season. Funny how that works.

The last time the Astros played in Kansas City, they swept the Royals in a three-game series last September. They also took two of three at Minute Maid Park in May 2019, so they went 5-1 against a Royals squad that lost 103 games. The Royals are not likely to be significantly better this year.

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These exhibition games will serve multiple purposes. For one, it’ll give the Astros an opportunity to play some real games against another team. Playing intrasquad games is only going to help so much. Real competition will help them get ramped up for Opening Day.

The games will also be a good test for traveling and playing another squad amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The success of this MLB season will depend on how effectively teams are able to travel and avoid the virus. There will be players who miss time from it, but minimizing that will be key.

The Astros have already had to cancel a couple of workouts due to late-arriving test results, while individual players have missed workouts for the same reason. Those types of interruptions during the season would be particularly costly.

Assuming there are no hiccups, we only have to wait one more week to see the Astros playing an actual baseball game against another team. The fact that it doesn’t count is beside the point. We have baseball coming up soon, and that’s reason enough to get excited.

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