Next round of MLB cancellations could include headline rivalries

Sep 25, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; New York Yankees left fielder Brett Gardner (11) is tagged out at home by Boston Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez (7) trying to score on a ground ball during the sixth inning at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 25, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; New York Yankees left fielder Brett Gardner (11) is tagged out at home by Boston Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez (7) trying to score on a ground ball during the sixth inning at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports /
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What’s next on the MLB lockout chopping block? Just Sox vs. Yanks, that’s all.

When talks snagged Tuesday, MLB officials officially cancelled more than 90 games from the first week of the scheduled 2022 season. If progress toward a settlement does not advance quickly, the next round of cancellations is likely to knock out another 90 games.

If that second week of games is lost, teams would lose on average six more games atop the five to seven that have already been cancelled. That would reduce the season to about 150 games.

Based on the schedule Commissioner Rob Manfred has thus far followed, that second round of cancellations could happen as soon as early next week.

If so, the headline loss would the New York Yankees’ three-game home opening series from April 7-10 against the Boston Red Sox. That, in turn, would mean Boston would not visit the Bronx until mid-July.

It would mark only the fifth time in history that the Yankees and Red Sox did not play a full slate of rivalry games. The other years were during the COVID-shortened 2020 season (10 games), and the strike-shortened 1981 (6), 1994 (10), and 1995 (13) seasons.

That’s only one of several MLB series with significant rivalry implications that is now officially in jeopardy.

The Milwaukee Brewers are scheduled to play a four-game series on Chicago’s North Side against the Cubs that same weekend.

The 15-series mid-week slate includes three major rivalries. In the NL East, the New York Mets travel to Philadelphia for three games against the Phillies.

In the NL West, the San Diego Padres are scheduled to go to San Francisco for three games with the Giants.

The big interleague series of that second week is supposed to pit the Kansas City Royals and St. Louis Cardinals for a pair of games in St. Louis.

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The other jeopardized interleague series involve the Oakland Athletics in Philadelphia for three games with the Phillies and the Brewers traveling to Baltimore to play the Orioles three times.