MLB and MLBPA Agree to Play Seven-Inning Doubleheaders

At points during the shortened season, MLB will also be playing shorter games

MLB Hoping for 82-Game Season Starting in July
A detailed view of a pair of official Rawlings MLB baseballs. (Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty)
MLB Photos via Getty Images
By Evan Bleier / July 31, 2020 10:00 am

In a year that’s been anything but typical, America’s most traditional sport will be adopting yet another new rule in order to try to play out its season.

MLB — which has already introduced a universal designated hitter, expanded rosters and a temporary agreement to begin extra innings in 2020 with a man on second base — and the MLBPA agreed to shorten the length of games played during doubleheaders to seven innings apiece.

The change will go into effect starting on Saturday, and the expectation is that it will make it easier to make up games that will be postponed throughout the season due to weather and/or clubhouse coronavirus outbreaks.

In shortened games that are tied after seven innings, the new extra-innings rule will also apply, meaning teams will automatically start with a runner on second base starting in the eighth inning.

Though the MLBPA agreed to adopt the rule for the shortened 2020 season, it seems unlikely the union would agree to shorten games during a standard 162-game campaign. Over the course of the season, shortened games would require fewer pitchers, which would eliminate jobs as well as reduce compensation for pitchers who are employed, at least theoretically.

“I like nine and nine, personally,” New York Yankees reliever Adam Ottavino said Wednesday. “I don’t want to be marginalized out of the game, Once we go seven-inning games, slippery slope there.”

Ottavino also has an issue with the new extra-innings rule.

“It’s just not real baseball,” he said earlier this month. “So I’ll get used to it, but uh, I don’t particularly like having a runner out there that I haven’t earned, for him to be out there. So it’s not my favorite rule, to be honest.”

There are no doubleheaders currently scheduled in the majors, although there are plenty of games involving the Miami Marlins, Philadelphia Phillies and a handful of other teams that need to be made up.

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