MLB Reportedly Considering 7-Inning Games for Doubleheaders Amid Pandemic

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MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred answers questions at a press conference during MLB baseball owners meetings, Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

John Raoux/Associated Press

As Major League Baseball continues to play the 2020 season amid the coronavirus pandemic, one idea being discussed is shorter games for doubleheaders.

Per ESPN, the MLB Players Association is currently surveying members about the possibility of either playing seven innings for both games of a doubleheader or a full nine innings for the first game of a doubleheader and seven innings for the second game.

On Thursday, Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported the players association and league were “making progress” on a deal to allow this for the 2020 season. 

ESPN also noted that MLB is getting input from team owners and general managers, with the hope of reaching a decision by Saturday about whether to change the length of doubleheaders.

There has been one traditional doubleheader so far this season, as Cleveland swept the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday after rain washed out their series opener Monday.

The next doubleheader on the schedule will be Saturday between the Philadelphia Phillies and Toronto Blue Jays. It will mark the Phillies’ first game since July 26 after playing the Miami Marlins, who have had 18 members of the organization (16 players, two coaches) test positive for COVID-19 in the past few days, per Rosenthal.

According to ESPN, the minor leagues have the option to make one or both games of a doubleheader seven innings.

The potential move to shorten doubleheaders would likely reduce the number of pitchers both teams have to use in a single day, thereby lowering the possible risk for injuries. It would also reduce the amount of time teams need to play two games.

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