Both the Cubs and Mets entered Wednesday’s action with an elimination number of one, meaning just one more Brewers win down the stretch or one of their own losses would eliminate them from postseason contention. The Brewers killed two birds with one stone with an easy 9-2 victory over the Reds. Ryan Braun hit a grand slam in a big six-run first inning, ensuring the game was never in doubt. The Brewers’ win clinched a playoff spot for them, putting them in the postseason for a second consecutive year.
The Cubs will be watching the postseason from home for the first time since 2014. The club entered Wednesday on a seven-game losing streak and extended it to eight with a 4-2 loss to the Pirates. Their disappointing play down the stretch has many believing manager Joe Maddon will be let go.
The Mets are putting defeated the Marlins handily 10-3, but it didn’t matter. Their playoff drought is now at three seasons. While manager Mickey Callaway’s team played better in the second half, his tumultuous year also has him potentially on the hot seat.
The NL Wild Card race is now down to the Brewers and Nationals with home field advantage in the Wild Card game going to the team with the better record. The Nationals also won on Wednesday, meaning they maintain their one-game edge over the Brewers with four games remaining in the season. The winner of the NL Wild Card game will have the privilege of facing the Dodgers in the NLDS.
On Friday evening, Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association announced the first set of results for COVID-19 testing as part of the mandatory intake screening process under MLB’s COVID-19 Health Monitoring & Testing Plan. Per Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, the Athletics are not part of this data because their testing has not yet been completed.
There were 38 positive tests, accounting for 1.2% of the 3,185 samples collected and tested. 31 of the 38 individuals who tested positive are players. 19 different teams had one or more individuals test positive.
Sports Illustrated’s Emma Baccellieri notes that the positive test rate in the U.S. nationally is 8.3 percent. The NBA’s positive test rate was 7.1 percent. MLB’s positive test rate is well below average. This doesn’t necessarily mean that anything is wrong with MLB’s testing or that it’s an atypical round of testing. Rather, MLB’s testing population may more closely represent the U.S. population as a whole. Currently, because testing is still somewhat limited, those who have taken tests have tended to be those exhibiting symptoms or those who have been around others who have tested positive. If every single person in the U.S. took a test, the positive test rate would likely come in at a much lower number.
Several players who tested positive have given their consent for their identities to be made known. Those are: Delino DeShields (link), Brett Martin (link), Edward Colina, Nick Gordon, and Willians Astudillo (link). Additionally, Red Sox lefty Eduardo Rodríguez has not shown up to Red Sox camp yet because he has been around someone who tested positive, per The Athletic’s Jen McCaffrey.