MLB schedule impacted by coronavirus: 21 total games postponed, including Cardinals-Tigers series


Major League Baseball’s season is not yet two weeks old, but the schedule has been changed multiple times due to COVID-19 cases across the league. As many as 20 members of the Miami Marlins, including 18 players, have tested positive for the coronavirus since Opening Day. The Cardinals are the second team dealing with an outbreak, as 13 members of St. Louis’ traveling party, including seven players, tested positive for the coronavirus in recent days. The latest round of Cardinals test results forced MLB to cancel the team’s second consecutive series.

As of Monday, 21 different MLB games impacting a total of nine teams had been postponed due to COVID-19 cases. Three of the league’s 15 games (20 percent) originally on the slate for Friday, Saturday and Sunday were not played as scheduled. Sunday’s doubleheader between the Brewers and Cardinals was postponed, meaning one of the games in their originally scheduled three-game set was called off twice. Here are those postponed games and their original dates:

  • Marlins-Orioles four-game home-and-home series (July 27-30)
  • Yankees-Phillies four-game home-and-home series (July 27-30)
  • Marlins-Nationals three-game series (July 31-Aug. 2)
  • Phillies-Blue Jays three-game series (July 31-Aug. 2)
  • Brewers-Cardinals three game series (July 31-Aug. 2)
  • Cardinals-Tigers four-game series (Aug. 3-6)

MLB announced an updated schedule for the teams impacted by positive COVID-19 tests on Saturday. The Marlins are set to return to the field Tuesday against the Orioles, and the Phillies will return on Monday vs. the Yankees. It’s unclear when the Cardinals will return to the field, but their game on Tuesday in Detroit remains on the schedule.

The Yankees and Orioles are bystanders in the outbreak. The Yankees were scheduled to play four games with the Phillies this week (two in Philadelphia and two in New York) while the Orioles were scheduled to play four games with the Marlins (two in Miami and two in Baltimore). The revised schedule saw the Yankees and Orioles playing Wednesday and Thursday rather than sit idle.

The Marlins were also scheduled to play a three-game series against the Nationals this weekend. The vast majority of Nationals players voted not to travel to Miami for safety reasons. Under the revised schedule, the Nationals will not play this weekend while the Marlins are on hiatus. Here, for the sake of laying it all out, is the revised schedule:

Tues., July 28

vs. BAL PPD

vs. NYY PPD

at TOR

at MIA PPD

at PHI PPD

vs. WSH at MIN at PIT

Weds., July 29

at BAL PPD

at NYY PPD

at TOR

vs. MIA vs. NYY

vs. PHI at BAL

vs. WSH at MIN at PIT

Thurs., July 30

at BAL PPD

at NYY PPD

at TOR

vs. MIA vs. NYY

vs. PHI at BAL

vs. WSH OFF OFF

Fri., July 31

vs. WAS PPD

at TOR PPD

at MIA PPD

vs. TB

vs. BOS

vs. PHI PPD at MIL PPD vs. STL PPD

Sat., Aug. 1

vs. WAS PPD

doubleheader at TOR

at MIA PPD

vs. TB

vs. BOS

vs. PHI PPD at MIL PPD vs. STL PPD

Sun., Aug. 2

vs. WAS PPD

at TOR

at MIA PPD

vs. TB

vs. BOS

vs. PHI PPD at MIL PPD vs. STL PPD

Mon., Aug. 3

OFF

at NYY

OFF

OFF

vs. PHI

OFF at DET PPD vs. CWS

Tues., Aug. 4

at BAL

at NYY

vs. NYM

vs. MIA

vs. PHI

at ATL at DET PPD vs. CWS

“The health and safety protocols were designed with a challenging circumstance like the one facing the Marlins in mind,” MLB said in a statement earlier this week. “The response outlined in the joint MLB-MLBPA Operations Manual was triggered immediately upon learning of the cluster of positive cases, including contact tracing and the quarantining and testing of all of the identified close contacts. The Marlins’ personnel who tested positive remain in isolation and are receiving care.”

MLB will try to make up all postponed games later in the season via doubleheaders and eliminating off-days. If it’s not possible, MLB is prepared to allow teams to finish the season with an unequal number of games played, and determine the postseason field with winning percentage, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post.

That would not be ideal but there is precedent. Teams finished with an unequal number of games around the 1981 strike — some teams played as many as 111 games that season while others played as few as 103 — and the standings were based on winning percentage. In these adverse times, a similar strategy would be warranted this year.

Former Marlins president David Samson weighed in on MLB’s handling of the coronavirus on the latest episode of Nothing Personal with David Samson. Listen below:

COVID-19 carries up to a 14-day incubation period (the time from exposure to development of symptoms) with a median of five days, meaning if any Phillies players and personnel were exposed during the Marlins series over the weekend, it may not show up in the initial rounds of testing. Players have been told that if they were exposed to COVID-19 from facing the Marlins, positive tests would show up between Thursday and Saturday, according to The Athletic’s Jayson Stark

MLB’s press release says more than 6,400 tests have been conducted since last Friday, July 24, and the Marlins are the only team with positive tests. It adds that the league had a 0.3 percent positive test rate on over 32,000 tests through Opening Day.

“The difficult circumstances of one Club reinforce the vital need to be diligent with the protocols in all ways, both on and off the field,” MLB’s statement says. “We will continue to bolster our protocols and make any necessary adjustments. The realities of the virus still loom large, and we must operate with that in mind every day. We are confident that Clubs and players will act appropriately, for themselves and for others, and the data provides reason to believe that the protocols can work effectively.”

As for player compensation, the March agreement on prorated salaries only applies to how many games each team is able to play. However, players on the Phillies, Orioles and Nationals will get the full 60 games, even if they are unable to play 60 as a team due to the circumstances here, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports. There is no word on the Marlins’ players, though. 

Commissioner Rob Manfred reportedly told MLBPA chief Tony Clark on Friday that coronavirus testing protocols need to be followed more closely and that more positive tests could see the league shut down as soon as early next week.





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