We heard some rumors of this being discussed before the season began, but it never came to fruition in the agreement, but on Thursday night the Major League Baseball Players Association and Major League Baseball agreed to have doubleheaders in 2020 be 7-inning games. This is only for 2020 and unless agreed upon will not be in place beyond this season.

There’s plenty to unpack here, so let’s get into it. This has been a rule in the minor leagues for a while, so the players have almost assuredly played in this format before – it may just have been a while for some of them. The extra-innings runner-on-second rule still applies here, and if the game goes to the 8th inning that is when the runner will begin on second to start.

The reason for this rule to be in place is to try and save pitchers arms. Without many off days it’s going to mean there will be doubleheaders that are going to be played far more often than usual around baseball. While there are no doubleheaders scheduled in baseball right now, that doesn’t really mean much.

The Reds and Cubs were postponed by rain last night and haven’t rescheduled the game. Both teams are off on August 10th, so the game could possibly be made up that day – but it’s also the first day off of the season for either team. The Cubs return to Cincinnati from the 28th through 30th, and they could make it up one of those days. With the league trying to travel as little as possible, it may make more sense to play a doubleheader later in the month than have Chicago come to Cincinnati for one day only to turn back around and hit the road again.

And that’s a situation a lot of teams are likely to face with postponements. Limit the amount of time you are traveling. Assuming that plan sticks true around the game it just makes sense to play some doubleheaders instead of one-day stops in cities to make things up if possible. And for teams like the Phillies, Marlins, and by default the opponents they were set to face before the postponements from their COVID-19 spread, having doubleheaders may be the only way possible to come close to playing 60 games this season (for the Marlins, in particular).

Like I said on Redleg Nation Radio #335: Embrace the weird, because in 2020 we’re going to get a lot of weird.

16 Responses

  1. Rut

    Hey — can the Reds play all games as double headers?

    Seems like the best way to avoid this bullpen, so let’s make some rainouts Bull Durham style or do whatever we can to make this happen!

    • Doug Gray

      It sounds really good in theory until you realize that after 3 days it means your bullpen is pitching all 7 innings multiple days in a row because you don’t have enough starters to make it work and now we’re watching NFL Pro Bowl score games where the Reds win or lose 45-42.

      • Rut

        It was more of a joke than anything else… good grief

      • Doug Gray

        So was my reply.

        Sometimes jokes don’t play so well in type.

  2. Mark Moore

    On a separate but related note, MLB-TR just posted the Dirty Birds and Brewers are postponed due to “multiple COVID-19 positive tests” for the Cards. Somebody commented that 20% of the scheduled games today won’t be played due to this.

    I guess it isn’t just the Marlins? Trend doesn’t seem good to my eyes.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      If they postpone every game in which a potential participant has had a positive COVID test, there is little hope that the season will reach conclusion. I don’t know the exact number, but you already have the Marlins having to make up what, six or seven games?

      Not criticism of MLB management — they have to react on the fly, and their actions indicate that health is the number one concern, as it should be.

      • Klugo

        Maybe the owners were right. The fewer scheduled games the better. This could take a while as it is.

      • Mark Moore

        Agreed, Tom. And it’s not the onesy-twosey positives. It’s like the Marlins where there are “multiple”. That’s what I read was the case with the Cards.

        Even with 7-inning double-headers, the hurdle will be pretty steep to overcome. And I’m thinking that puts out the last flicker of hope for any fans attending any games.

      • Sliotar

        Really good and sensible post, IMO, Tom.

        History might very well show that the “bubble/hub” concept of one or two cites (or states, even) might have been the (relatively) safer choice. But, the MLB players did not want that.

        It is going to take a lot of cooperation and pragmatism from both players and MLB to plow through the games and complete a season.

        It has been fun to watch.

        Reds, Padres, Rockies … all showing they could be dangerous in the NL, if there is October baseball. Now, if someone would somehow stop the Dodgers.

      • Doug Gray

        Worth noting that when the bubble was on the table for MLB, it was on the table for April through October. No other league was looking at 6-7 months of a bubble. They were looking at a few weeks to 2 months of a bubble.

    • Matt WI

      ESPN reporting two Cardinals as of now. So hopefully not a Marlins type outbreak unfolding.

  3. Eric the Red

    It seems pretty obvious that it’s really hard to keep the virus “out”. So everyone should work on doing everything they can to not catch the virus from whatever unfortunate soul brings it “in”.

    Since there’s no way to know who that person is, everyone needs to treat all of their coaches and teammates (and opposition) as if they could be that person. Sure, some contact is unavoidable—like when you’re tagging a guy. But avoidable contact should be, well, avoided.

    We can watch the games every night and see an awful lot of avoidable contact, whether it’s high fiving or hanging on the dugout rail next to each other. MLB had better break everyone of their natural habits of contact, or I bet lots of teams have Marlins-style outbreaks and the season may become absurd.

  4. Doug Gray

    6 hours, guys and gals. 6 hours is how long the title of this was MLB doubleheaders will BY 7-innings. Not BE. BY.

    I’m a complete failure, and you all should have been laughing at me, but also corrected me. I take 110% of the blame, but I’m assigning another 3% to you, the readers, because surely someone noticed it and didn’t make fun of me for it.

    • VaRedsFan

      I read it like 5 times and quit trying to figure it out ans just opened the article, I claim 1%.