MLB is adding another twist to the 2020 season. According to USA Today, the league is cutting doubleheader games to seven innings, which is similar to what is done in the minor leagues. The announcement hasn't been made, but it's slated to go into effect Aug. 1.
This move was made because there will be a number of doubleheaders that will take place in the next two months because of games being postponed due to positive COVID-19 tests and weather, according to ESPN's Jeff Passan. If this does start Aug. 1, it could mean the St. Louis Cardinals and Milwaukee Brewers doubleheader series on Sunday will be seven innings.
It does help out with possible pitching issues and with health," Baltimore Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said to reporters in a conference call. "But I don't know…This year, we're just going to make adjustments, be flexible, do what the league tells us to do. I'm good either way." Each team has 60 games to play this season, and the league has a 66-day regular-season window. With teams playing a lot of games in a short span, having shorter doubleheaders will help players recover quickly for the next series. However, not every player likes shorter doubleheaders.
"I like nine and nine, personally," New York Yankees reliever Adam Ottavino said Wednesday. "I don't want to be marginalized out of the game. Once we go seven-inning games, slippery slope there." It's very likely this will be a one-time-only deal due to the number of circumstances this season. Along with the shortened regular season, the playoffs will have 50 percent of the entire league as 16 teams can qualify for postseason play. Also, when teams go into extra innings, a runner will automatically start on second base. And one of the more interesting rule changes is the universal designated hitter, which means National League teams will not have to worry about their pitcher coming to the plate.
"If the doubleheaders were to pile up for whatever reason, I would have it like in a contingency plan," Los Angeles Angels manager Joe Maddon said. He also noted "I'm in for anything right now" when it comes to completing the season. According to CBS Sports 15 games have been postponed during the first week of the season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.