9:42AM: Yesterday’s testing of Phillies personnel revealed no new positive cases, according to a team press release.
TODAY, 9:04AM: For the second straight day, the group of Marlins players currently in Philadelphia haven’t had any positive COVID-19 test results, the Miami Herald’s Jordan McPherson reports (Twitter link). The team is planning to head to Baltimore today in advance of Tuesday’s series opener.
AUGUST 1: Major League Baseball released a statement this afternoon providing updates on a number of clubs, including the Marlins, who have been out of action for the last week after a COVID-19 outbreak within the organization. As of now, Miami is set to resume its season on Tuesday with a four-game series against the Orioles in Baltimore, which will take place over three days and include a doubleheader. The Marlins will be the designated “home” team for two of those games.
MLB’s announcements, which also include the latest on the Cardinals and Phillies, can be found in their entirety here, courtesy of MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand.
For a second consecutive day, the scheduled Brewers-Cardinals matchup has been postponed. The decision comes after this morning yielded news that the Cardinals have several more positive tests on their hands. As of now, there’s no word on when the Cardinals can be expected to take the field again.
Meanwhile, the Phillies and Yankees will begin a four-game home-and-home series on Monday. The Phils were also sidelined this week after potential exposure to the coronavirus during last weekend’s series against the Marlins. However, it appears that Philadelphia has avoided the worst-case scenario, with MLB revealing that two of the three positive tests in the Phillies organization appear to have been false positives. No players have tested positive for COVID-19 since the team’s last contact with the Marlins on Sunday.
The proliferation of the virus within the Marlins organization has posed an early threat to MLB’s plans to conduct a baseball season amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, and the developing outbreak within the Cardinals could be similarly crucial to the outlook for the remaining two months of play.
These intra-team infections mean that the MLB schedule is fluid and evolving, with postponements forcing on-the-fly adjustments to the schedule. This can have a ripple effect throughout the league, as several other teams in MLB’s East division have been forced into schedule alterations despite maintaining comparatively good health. Health concerns notwithstanding, teams like the Phillies and Marlins might be faced with especially demanding schedules as they attempt to squeeze more games into a shorter time period for the remainder of the season.
Additionally, extended “break” periods like those endured by the Phillies and Marlins over the last week could interrupt players’ mojo during an already irregular season; whereas daily games allow players to establish a rhythm, a “stop-and-start” schedule means that players will be expected to jump right back into competitive games after several days off, perhaps akin to a team awaiting an opponent after handily winning a playoff series. We’ll have to see whether that produces any noticeable effects, and even then it will be an imprecise science, but it’s one of many difficult circumstances unique to the 2020 season.