MLB, MLBPA Agree to 7-Inning Doubleheaders Starting in August

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist

A pile of batting practice balls are seen as Cleveland Indians players work out during batting practice for Friday's Game 3 of the Major League Baseball World Series against the Chicago Cubs, Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

Major League Baseball is attempting to squeeze in a 60-game season after play was originally suspended because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which could mean more doubleheaders when games are rained out.

With that as a possibility, the league and the MLB Players Association agreed that doubleheaders will feature two seven-inning games starting on Aug. 1.  

Jeff Passan of ESPN pointed out the two sides worked "quickly" on reaching a compromise since there are "a number of doubleheaders expected to take place on account of rescheduled games due to current and potential coronavirus outbreaks as well as weather-related postponements."

The Miami Marlins and Philadelphia Phillies, who represent 40 percent of the National League East, as well as the New York Yankees, already saw their schedules altered because of a COVID-19 outbreak among Marlins players.

Even a few days without games for one team can drastically impact the schedule in a division race since teams are playing 40 of their 60 games against division opponents. It is not unreasonable to expect the Marlins to play a handful of doubleheaders when they return to the field.

According to Britt Ghiroli of The Athletic, the union asked its players to consider a handful of rule changes in an effort to make it through the season as healthy as possible, including hosting seven-inning games during doubleheaders.

Ghiroli called this move, as well as maintaining 30-man rosters in such an unusual season, "a no-brainer." 

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As Katherine Acquavella and R.J. Anderson of CBS Sports pointed out, playing seven-inning games in the minor leagues is a common practice.