Prior to Friday, postponed games due to positive COVID-19 tests were limited to the East. Not anymore.
Major League Baseball postponed the series-opener between the Milwaukee Brewers and the St. Louis Cardinals set for Friday night at Miller Park in Milwaukee after multiple positive tests on the Cardinals, according to various reports.
Sources: Cardinals had positive tests, forcing postponement— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) July 31, 2020
Positive coronavirus tests with the St. Louis Cardinals have postponed their game against the Milwaukee Brewers, a source tells ESPN, confirming the @jonheyman report. Unclear how many, but to this point positives had been limited to teams in the East. Now in the Central, too.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 31, 2020
Prior to Friday, the postponements stemmed solely from the outbreak of positive COVID-19 tests affecting the Miami Marlins. The Marlins saw games postponed through at least Sunday as their number of positive tests keeps growing, now at 19, with 17 players and two coaches reported to have tested positive. Considering those positive tests came while the team was playing the Philadelphia Phillies in Pennsylvania, the Phillies saw their upcoming games postponed, as well. Those moves obviously impacted the schedules of the teams those teams were supposed to play, and four other teams — the New York Yankees, Baltimore Orioles, Toronto Blue Jays and Washington Nationals — have had at least three of their games postponed.
Those are sweeping consequences with just one team experiencing an outbreak. And now those consequences could come to the Central divisions, as well, as the league conducts contact tracing on the Cardinals who tested positive.
The Cardinals are coming from taking on the Minnesota Twins in Minneapolis, where they finished a two-game series Wednesday. The news of the positive tests didn't come down until Friday, meaning the Cleveland Indians used the same visitors' locker room the Cardinals did in Thursday's game at Target Field.
Just as several teams in the East were impacted by the Marlins' outbreak in Philadelphia, Chicago's teams could be impacted by the Cardinals' multiple positive tests over the next couple of weeks.
— The White Sox are scheduled to play two games in Milwaukee on Monday and Tuesday before returning to the South Side for two more with the Brewers on Wednesday and Thursday.
— The Cubs are scheduled to play the Cardinals in a three-game series in St. Louis beginning Aug. 7.
— The White Sox are scheduled to start a three-game series with the Indians on the South Side starting Aug. 7.
— The Cubs are scheduled to travel to Cleveland to play the Indians on Aug. 11 and 12.
— The White Sox are scheduled to play the Cardinals in the Field of Dreams game in Iowa on Aug. 13 before returning to Chicago for two more games against the Redbirds on Aug. 15 and 16.
In other words, the baseball schedule is a tangled web. And the Marlins have shown how quickly it can all come to a halt for multiple teams at a time. In a situation where the Cardinals, Indians, Twins and Brewers are all impacted, postponements could come to the Central in a flurry, just as they have in the East.
There's no indication yet that the Cardinals are experiencing a Marlins-style outbreak. There are reportedly two positive tests among Cardinals players, and a number of positive tests of a certain size would reportedly allow the league to begin the Cardinals-Brewers series Saturday.
Multiple sources have indicated to me there are two players on the Cardinals testing positive for COVID-19. First to report positive tests @JonHeyman.— Craig Mish (@CraigMish) July 31, 2020
So, per source, the #Cardinals for now have been told that, if the rest of the team tests negative (and I haven’t yet been told how many positives they had), the series with the Brewers will start on Saturday.— Mark Saxon (@markasaxon) July 31, 2020
But as the Marlins have shown, things can change in a hurry, not just for one team but for all of baseball.