Major League Baseball today announced a couple things we’ve been expecting for about 36 hours now: the St. Louis Cardinals suffered a COVID-19 outbreak that includes at least 13 positive results (7 players, 6 staff), and their series this week against the Detroit Tigers has been postponed.
From the MLB release:
The four-game series between the Detroit Tigers and the St. Louis Cardinals at Comerica Park from Tuesday, August 4th through Thursday, August 6th has been postponed.
The Cardinals have had 13 members of the organization test positive for COVID-19 in the last week, including seven players and six staff members. The Club, which has been in quarantine since Thursday, will stay in Milwaukee and their personnel will continue to be tested daily. The tentative plan is for the team to resume its regular schedule on Friday against the Chicago Cubs in St. Louis.
Emphasis there on tentative. The Miami Marlins did not finally get scheduled to resume play until 10 days after their first positive test, and also four straight days of no new positives. If the Cardinals followed the same track, returning to play on Friday against the Cubs would actually be only the 9th day since their first positive, though it’s possible it’ll be four+ days since a positive test, depending on what happens today and tomorrow. (Are we really expecting there not to be more positives, though? The Marlins were rolling positives daily for almost a week.)
It’s conceivable that there would be an extra day take on Friday, and the Cubs and Cardinals could play three games in two days this weekend. It’s also conceivable that the teams will play, but will instead just play in Chicago. And it is, of course, extremely conceivable that the series is simply postponed entirely.
If the Cardinals do play, they will have to pull up several players from their alternate site to make it work. If the outbreak is more than the seven identified players, they may also have to go the Marlins route and snap up as many free agents and waived players as they can.
MLB’s interest here is in postponing as many games as necessary to feel like all the infected players and staff have been identified and removed from the equation until they’re cleared … but not postponing any more than are necessary, lest you have a situation where teams like the Marlins and Cardinals are left to try to play 50 games in 45 days or something. That’s not good for player health either.
Earlier we learned that MLB has started barring players from leaving their team hotels on the road after multiple Cardinals players reportedly went to a casino on a recent road trip.