It’s not official yet — this likely will be announced sometime later Friday — but it appears that two of the three Cubs/Cardinals games postponed last weekend in St. Louis will be made up as part of doubleheaders next week at Wrigley Field:
The Cardinals will begin their stay in Chicago Saturday with a doubleheader against the White Sox (rescheduled from a postponement Friday). Then they’ll play the Sox in a single game Sunday before the Cubs and Cardinals will play five games in three days at Wrigley.
If you didn’t see the reaction on Twitter Thursday evening after this news broke, don’t look. No, really, don’t. It’s one of the reasons I don’t tweet much. Reaction ranged from COVID-shaming the Cardinals (and I have already written about why doing that is a bad thing) to something along the lines of “ZOMG this is the worst thing ever!”
Seriously. Stand down, the Cubs can handle this.
Before I get into why this isn’t a big deal, what Ken Rosenthal said about this during the Fox-TV broadcast of the Cubs/Brewers game Thursday is correct: The Cubs are innocent victims in this rescheduling. Stipulated and understood.
Let’s also all acknowledge that this is a baseball season like no other we have ever seen, nor are likely to see in the future. Everyone’s going to have to make adjustments — and the Cubs, as we have seen, have done this spectacularly well so far. If the Cubs freaked out the way people did on social media about this change, I don’t think they’d do very well on the field.
Here’s why this isn’t that big a deal.
First, as you likely know, doubleheader games are seven innings this year. Thus, on three days when they would ordinarily have played 27 innings, the Cubs and Cardinals are going to play 37 innings. Granted, that’s more than usual, but teams have done this in the past when games have gone into extra innings.
Second, MLB is giving teams help for situations like this — for both of the doubleheaders, the Cubs (and Cardinals) will be able to carry an extra player. Most likely, that’s going to be a pitcher, and that means that someone like Adbert Alzolay or Jharel Cotton will start one of the doubleheader games, or perhaps the Cubs will stretch out Colin Rea to start. The regular rotation shouldn’t be affected. Remember that the Cardinals will also have to use one of their secondary starters for the doubleheader games — and they’re also going to have to add players to their roster from their alternate site, because some of their main players (Paul DeJong and Yadier Molina, among others) can’t yet play due to positive COVID-19 tests.
So if you think this is a competitive disadvantage to the Cubs, think again.
Third, the Cubs have an off day after the Cardinals series next Thursday, so everyone in the regular five-man rotation will have an extra day of rest before the series with the White Sox that begins a week from today. Further, the Cubs have two more off days before the end of August (the 27th and 31st), so they’ll be able to get more rest for rotation starters. It’s true that they have another doubleheader this month, August 29 in Cincinnati, made necessary by a rainout in July. But again, for that one they’ll be able to add a pitcher, both games will be seven innings, and they have an off day after that series.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, I have 100 percent confidence in David Ross to set the right tone for the players in order to handle playing five games in three days. This group seems to know how to do what they have to do in order to win. They’re not going to let this bother them — and you shouldn’t either. In the end, it’s just part of the weird and wacky story that is the 2020 MLB season.
So don’t freak out. Embrace it. It’s just part of baseball 2020.