Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association have agreed to play seven-inning doubleheaders for the rest of the 2020 season, per ESPN’s Jeff Passan. The change will go into effect on Aug. 1. Each game in the doubleheader will last seven innings.
Schedules will need to be adjusted frequently due to weather and COVID-19 related postponements. The Phillies for example, have at least six games they need to make up through the end of the season. It is very possible that the team won’t play 60 games, but the Phillies can get much closer to that number if a doubleheader or two is added into the schedule.
Some may feel a strong way about the league moving to shorter games in a doubleheader, but both sides came to a quick agreement on this issue as it was deemed necessary for player safety. It could lessen the workload for pitchers. Excluding the COVID-19 list, 14 pitchers have found themselves on the injured list during the first week of the 2020 season, which is an almost 500% increase from the opening week of 2019.
It’s also much safer for the league to postpone games due to inclement weather rather than have players congregating in indoor spaces for long periods of time waiting for games to start. Miami Marlins manager Don Mattingly was unhappy last Wednesday when his team was forced to linger in tight indoor spaces with little room for social distancing during a rain delay in Atlanta. Eight days later, more than half of the Marlins’ active roster tested positive for coronavirus:
Brittany Ghiroli of The Athletic also reported that the league and union are also looking into expanding the 30-man roster through the entire 60-game season. Currently, teams can carry 30 players on their active roster, but that is scheduled to be reduced to 28 on Aug. 7 and 26 on the 21st.
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