New doubleheader rule
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New doubleheader rule is official: games will be seven innings long

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It’s official: baseball has a new doubleheader rule for whatever is left of the 2020 season: games in twin bills will be seven innings long.

That rule, hinted at yesterday, was formally announced by Major League Baseball a few minutes ago. In the release, the league noted the necessity of the rule, saying, “[g]iven the frequency of doubleheaders, the effects of doubleheaders on rosters, and the need to reschedule games due to dynamic circumstances, both the Clubs and the Players have determined that this step promotes player health and safety.”

“Dynamic circumstances” is one heck of a euphemism for “a pandemic which has wreaked havoc on our schedule and has us at its mercy,” but I suppose MLB has PR people on staff whose job it is to soften such things.

The new doubleheader rule reads as follows:

Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in Official Baseball Rule 7.01(a) (“Regulation Games”), a regulation game in both games of a double-header shall consist of seven innings, unless extended because of a tie score.  In this respect, the “Extra Innings” rule contained in Section 5.1.2 of the 2020 Operations Manual shall apply to each half-inning following the completion of the seventh inning. 

 Please note that OBR 7.01(c) shall still apply, such that if a game is called, it is a regulation game (1) if five innings have been completed; (2) if the home team has scored more runs in four or four and a fraction half-innings than the visiting team has scored in five completed half-innings; or (3) if the home team scores one or more runs in its half of the fifth inning to tie the score. 

Given recent disruptions in the schedule, some teams are looking at playing a handful of doubleheaders throughout the season to make up for lost time. Reducing the length of doubleheaders to seven innings would put less strain on pitchers and wouldn’t require as much roster preparation. Most importantly, during a pandemic, this would reduce the total amount of time players spend in enclosed areas like clubhouses where COVID-19 is more easily spread.

Hey, it’s 2020. Nothing is normal. Why should doubleheaders be spared?

Doubleheader between Cardinals and Tigers postponed

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
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A doubleheader between the St. Louis Cardinals and Detroit Tigers this week is being postponed to allow more time for additional COVID-19 testing.

MLB opted to postpone Thursday’s doubleheader to continue additional testing while players and staff are quarantined before the team returns to play. More details about the Cardinals’ resumption of play will be announced later this week.

The Cardinals had a series against Pittsburgh set to start on Monday postponed after a weekend series against the Cubs was scrapped due to three positive coronavirus tests.

St. Louis had two more players and a staff member test positive for the virus on Friday and have had eight positive players overall, including star catcher Yadier Molina.

There have now been 29 games postponed by Major League Baseball because of coronavirus concerns. The Cardinals have not played since July 30 and have had 15 games scrapped.

Miami and Philadelphia each had seven games postponed earlier and have returned to the field since the disruptions.

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