The St. Louis Cardinals have played all of five baseball games this season and had to miss 14 after a spate of positive COVID-19 tests brought about postponement after postponement. With each day the notion that they'd be able to erase the backlog and get to the prescribed 60-contest mark because less likely. Bloggers began to see the handwriting growing in font size on the wall and suggested Major League Baseball set a minimum-games-played requirement far ahead of the playoffs so everyone was on the same page.
But the plan remains for St. Louis to make them all up. They return to action with a doubleheader tomorrow against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. They'll play three more twinbills at Wrigley before Sept. 5. They have four doubleheaders in August and seven more in September. And perhaps a 12th should it become necessary to make up a twice-postponed date with the Detroit Tigers at the end of the season.
All told it could be 55 games in 46 days, an average of 10.8 innings per day — though remember the new invention of the seven-inning double dip, allowed for this very disastrous scenario. The Cardinals will have to do all of this with a 28-man roster. Putting together any type of pitching plan feels like a logistical nightmare. A person could get hives just thinking about it.
One of two things seem very likely to happen. It'll either be way too much and break them, with the wheels coming off and a caravan collapsing in a plume of exhausted dust. Or the unique particulars will bring everyone together to create magic. Put me down for a bit of both, with a promising run eventually derailed by fatigue.
NL and AL Central foes should rejoice in knowing they'll have fresher legs and more rested arms than the Cards. Teams in other divisions have to be jealous when surveying the race for the final playoff spots.
There's no blueprint to follow for 2020 in, well, any area of life so you can't really say MLB is doing the wrong thing in trying to maintain the integrity of a full season for all. We always knew in the corner of our mind that the healthiest teams were going to have a decided advantage. It just feels weird to see it play out in real life.