Tonight’s scheduled game between the Phillies and Yankees at Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park has been postponed, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports (via Twitter). The cancellation comes after a dozen Marlins players and two coaches tested positive for COVID-19 after playing in Philadelphia this past weekend. The Marlins’ scheduled home opener against the Orioles has also been called off.
Major League Baseball has yet to offer any official statement on the Marlins’ outbreak or on subsequent measures that will be taken. Phillies players, staff and clubhouse personnel have all surely gone through additional testing already, but the number of negative tests they’ll need to continue — and the period of time in which those tests must occur — isn’t known right now. At the very least, it’s safe to consider both the Marlins/Orioles and Yankees/Phillies series in jeopardy at this time.
ESPN’s Marly Rivera tweets that one potential option could be to push today’s game back to this weekend, when the Phillies are scheduled to be in New York for the Yankees’ home opener. Adding one or more doubleheaders to the two clubs’ remaining schedule this season and/or a makeup game on one of the rare off-days on the schedule could conceivably account for any games lost to the current outbreak, but such measures would obviously become untenable in the event that similar outbreak scenarios occur over the next two months.
The results of the Phillies’ testing will become crucial not only with regard to the resumption or rescheduling of the Yankees series but with regard to the feasibility of the 2020 season itself. The Phillies were the first team to have any type of outbreak, with as many as 12 positive tests among players and personnel back at intake. However, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman tweets that the Phils haven’t had a positive test since intake. Multiple infections now would point to a spread over the weekend series against Miami, which would serve as an even more foreboding red flag than the already ominous Marlins outbreak. Even if the league does continue on, it’s not difficult to imagine renewed apprehension among players and some additional season opt-outs.