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.