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MLB has officially announced how it will address the schedules of the three teams thrown into chaos by COVID-19 outbreaks, and let’s just say the Miami Marlins shouldn’t plan for a day off down the stretch.
The Marlins, Philadelphia Phillies and St. Louis Cardinals all have multiple series to make up over the next two months. MLB’s solution: the addition of 13 different doubleheaders into the schedules of the three teams.
Several other games, some not even involving the three teams in question, also had to be shifted or tweaked to make schedule room.
Here are the changes, in all of their demented glory:
Let’s go through the wildest of those changes, starting with the team playing 27 games in the final 23 days of the season.
Marlins’ season is about to get soul-crushing
Here’s the good news for the Marlins: In a year that began with rock-bottom expectations, the team is in first place as late as August.
The bad news is everything else.
Nearly two weeks into the season, the team has played only six games. They’re 5-1 in those games, currently the best win percentage in MLB, but the team has a lot of work to do to keep it that way.
The Marlins have already had to overhaul their roster to a comical degree to make up for the more than a dozen players in quarantine.
Now, the team will be playing five extra doubleheaders in late August and all of September to make up for the series missed last week. Four of them come in the span of only 10 days. You know how hard it is for managers to manage the innings of their effective relievers? Now imagine doing that while playing four extra games with no days off. It adds up to 110 innings to be played between Sept. 11 and Sept. 20.
MLB’s decision to play 7-inning games for doubleheaders should soften the blow a bit, but that still led to one of the more defeated emails you will ever see from a team communications department.
Phillies, Marlins to play 7-game series ... in 5 days
Two of the Marlins’ doubleheaders come on Sept. 11 and Sept. 13 against the Phillies. Add in games on Sept. 10, 12 and 14 and you have a 7-game series in only 5 days, all in Miami.
That’s all part of a stretch of games for the Phillies that will be similar to the Marlins, with 36 games played in the span of 34 games to close the season. Unlike the Marlins, the Phillies at least get a day off in there: Sept. 24.
The Cardinals will also be playing 55 games in 53 days, with their final day off on Sept. 3. Keep in mind, these are games that could decide a playoff race. All of these games, all of these month-long spans in which teams will be playing more than a game per day, are being played with pretty much every team involved — even the Marlins, now that they’re in first place and playing for a 16-team postseason — jostling for a playoff spot. Baseball has some very ridiculous months ahead.
Somehow, that isn’t the end of the doubleheader weirdness going on.
Nationals will be a home and road team on same day
In another fun twist, the Marlins and Washington Nationals will meet for a doubleheader on Aug. 22 in Nationals Park. Like usual, the Nationals will suit up as the home team. And then they’ll be the road team for the second game.
Yup, the Marlins are going to be a home team in Washington to make up for one of the games missed last weekend.
This isn’t even the first time something like that has happened in D.C., as the barnstorming Toronto Blue Jays played a “home” series there last month.
We probably haven't seen the last postponed games
This might be a pessimistic expectation. However, optimism hasn’t exactly been rewarded so far this season. Sure, some teams seem to be taking the pandemic more seriously now after watching what happens when you don’t, but who really expects a league with 840 active players, as well as coaches and training staff, to go two months without another case?
If or when that happens, there will be even more schedule alterations to be done, and MLB sure seems to be running out of cloth in some areas.
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