The Philadelphia Phillies will open up their second-half slate this Friday with a doubleheader against the Miami Marlins, in which each game will be seven innings long.
We could be seeing the waning months of the seven-inning doubleheader experiment, though.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports (h/t MLB Trade Rumors) that “barring heavy resistance” from the Major League Baseball Players Association, the sport hopes that doubleheaders will return to being nine innings, as opposed to the seven-inning format that has been used since the start of the 2020 season.
Baseball traditionalists will be pleased with this development, as they never liked the idea of changing the format of doubleheader games. It does make it difficult to put in perspective historical performances in a seven-inning game, such as Madison Bumgarner not allowing a hit in a seven-inning game earlier this season, but not being credited with a no-hitter.
However, there have been quite a few proponents of the seven-inning doubleheaders as well. Just from a viewing perspective, 14 innings is a lot of baseball in one day, let alone 18. Though the Phillies haven’t had much success in seven-inning doubleheaders, Joe Girardi has liked the rule change because it limits the chances of you burning through your entire bullpen in one day.
As many have pointed out, the league may be incentivized to leak this now with the collective bargaining agreement set to expire on Dec. 1. If the Players Association prefers to have seven-inning doubleheaders and a universal DH, for example, they may be asked by the league to make concessions elsewhere.
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