Phillies Hit With COVID-19 Issues; Weekend Series Put on Hold

Tracy Ringolsby

Shouldn't be a surprise. The Philadelphia Phillies are now battling COVID-19 issues. A visiting clubhouse attendant, home club house attendant and coach tested positive for COVID-19.

It is possible this is the result of the Marlins having opened the season at Philadelphia last weekend, after which it became known that as many as 19 Marlins employees, including 17 players, had tested positive.

As a result, the Marlins had series with the Orioles and Nationals scheduled for this week postponed. They are currently scheduled to host the Phillies beginning on Tuesday, although that is now in limbo in light of the issues in Philadelphia.

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With the Phillies and Yankee home-and-home series this week postponed, the Yankees played the Orioles in Baltimore on Wednesday and Thursday to fill two of the canceled dates. The Phillies also postponed their weekend series that was to begin Friday against Toronto.

MLB will try to make up all postponed games later in the season via doubleheaders and eliminating off-days. If it's not possible, MLB is prepared to allow teams to finish the season with an unequal number of games played, and determine the postseason field with winning percentage.

MLB took a similar approach with the 1972 season when a player strike forced cancellation of 80 games. Detroit won the AL East that season, finishing a half-game ahead of Boston, which not only played one less game than the Tigers, but also had four games against the Tigers cancelled by the work stoppage.

In an attempt to play as many of the 60 games as each team is scheduled to play, MLB and the Players Association have agreed to schedule doubleheaders, which will have seven-inning games, for makeup purposes. They also would eliminate the some of the six off days that teams are scheduled to have during the 60-game season.

The flexibility of MLB was underscored earlier this week when the Blue Jays and Nationals were scheduled for four games -- two games in Washington, D.C., and two in Toronto.

The Blue, however, cannot play in Toronto because people entering Canada are required to undergo a 14-day quarantine. Efforts by Toronto to share a stadium with another MLB team fell through, and the Blue Jays opted to play home games in Buffalo, N.Y.

That decision, however was made just a week ago, and safety upgrades, including improved lighting, are required for the Buffalo facility, which is used for a Class AAA team, before it can be approved by MLB.

As a result, after the Nationals hosted the Blue Jays in games on Monday and Tuesday, and the two teams finished their series at Nationals Park, but with the Blue Jays serving as the home team on Wednesday and Thursday. 

The Nationals were scheduled to play at Miami this weekend, but those games were postponed, along with a scheduled three-game series between the Phillies and Blue Jays.

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