MLB News: Due to the coronavirus, what happens if all teams don’t play 60 games?

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres, Giancarlo Stanton

For a season filled with unknowns, MLB will have many decisions to make.  One is when and if the coronavirus affects too many teams, when will it be time to shut down the season?  What do we do if all teams don’t complete all the games in a 2020 shortened season?  These are just a few of the decisions that will have to be made.

Buster Olney of ESPN has an answer to that last question:

“If MLB continues to try to move forward with games — and that is the expectation with a lot of teams — they shouldn’t worry about the ‘integrity’ of a 60-game schedule. If some teams play 55 games, others 59 or 60, just go by winning percentage. This happened after 1981 strike.”

The decision to shut down the entire season will be a much harder one to make. Matt Collins of overthemonster.com is calling to the season to be shut down now so that things don’t get worse.

“The MLB season is three games old after a long delay into the summer, and it already looks like it’s time to shut things down. Just one series into the year, we already have a major outbreak from a team that still decided to play on Sunday. The Marlins, after already having multiple players and coaches test positive over the weekend, had eight more players and two more coaches test positive for COVID-19 Monday morning.”

Jeff Passan of ESPN reported:

The MLB season is three games old after a long delay into the summer, and it already looks like it’s time to shut things down. Just one series into the year, we already have a major outbreak from a team that still decided to play on Sunday. The Marlins, after already having multiple players and coaches test positive over the weekend, had eight more players and two more coaches test positive for COVID-19 Monday morning.

It is doubtful that this first hit of the virus will shut down the season at least at first.  Much will be dependent on how they control the virus and if more and more cases start popping up.  Most MLB teams are committed to a baseball season this year.  The New York Yankees are focused on a World Series Championship.

The Marlins seem committed as well even after this disaster they have suffered this weekend.  They are already out there scrambling around trying to find baseball players to fill spots vacated by sick players.  Early this afternoon, they claimed RHP Justin Shafer from the Cinncinatti Reds. They will use some prospects, but they have more holes to fill.

If nothing else, this season will go down in history as the strangest of all baseball seasons.  Let’s hope the MLB can get this present outbreak under control and can complete this short baseball season.

 

MLB News: Derek Jeter speaks out on COVID-19 Marlins outbreak

MLB all baseball and all of the sports face a crisis today as the coronavirus has reared it’s ugly head.  As I reported earlier this morning, 12 Miami Marlins players and two crew have tested positive for the coronavirus.  The results of those tests have prevented the Marlins from having their Opening Day game at Marlins Park against the Baltimore Orioles.

The Marlins last played yesterday at Citizen’s Bank Park in Philadelphia against the Phillies.  Because these positive tests showed up there, there is a possibility that some of the Phillies players or staff may have been exposed to the virus. The MLB and the New York Yankees in an abundance of caution have also postponed tonight’s Yankee/Phillies game.

Ex- Yankee Derek Jeter, part-owner of the Miami Marlins, made the following statement on the situation facing the Marlins:

Jeter indicated that all of the Marlin’s team would remain in Philadelphia to await results of their tests as well as Phillie’s tests that should be available this evening, before going forward.

All of this morning’s news has set the internet and Twitter ablaze with comments ranging from “it’s time to shut down the season” to “why not avoid all of this and just bring the Los Angeles Dodgers to Yankee Stadium and have the World Series right now.”  Statements like these and everything in between has shaken up the baseball world.

Other sports like the NFL, NBA, and the NHL are observing this situation as they too make plans to have their seasons.  The COVID-19 virus is spiraling out of control in states that either isn’t wholly following the CDC protocols or have opened up their state’s economy too soon or have not followed the guidelines.

Where the Marlins are located at Marlins Park in Miami/Dade county is the epicenter county in the epicenter of the virus, which is now Florida.  Texas and California also have massive outbreaks of the virus.  The next few days may determine how the rest of the baseball season will be conducted or if it will have to be canceled altogether.

 

MLB: COVID-19 Surges… Orioles, Marlins, Yankees and Philly games all postponed today

With the coronavirus surging around the country, the surge has now affected MLB. Today the Baltimore/Marlins game and the Yankees/Phillies games have been canceled or postponed.  It may have all started when one Miami Marlin’s player didn’t follow the health protocol.

On Friday, when one Miami Marlin player tested positive for the coronavirus, the Marlins met up with the Philadelphia Phillies for a weekend three-game set.  Apparently, at the time, there may have been more asymptomatic players fostering the virus.  On Sunday morning, the Marlins got more tests back, showing that an additional three players had tested positive.  According to sources, the MLB and Marlins had a conversation as to whether to cancel the Sunday’s game.  It was decided at the time to let it go on.

Unbeknown to all involved, apparently the virus was festering in the Marlins dugout all weekend.  This morning’s test results showed more dire results. Twelve players and two coaches tested positive. The decision was made to shut down for an undisclosed time.

Meanwhile, some of the Philadelphia Phillies may have been infected by suspect Marlin players. All the Phillies have been tested and are awaiting the results of those tests.  According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Yankees and MLB have canceled their game with the Phillies in Philadelphia. This was probably done with the abundance of cauction by the Yankee brass.

Tonight the Yankees were set to play the first game of a four-game set with the Phillies, two in Philadelphia and two at Yankee Stadium.  Wednesday is scheduled to be Opening Day in New York at the Stadium. Now, this is up in the air as the virus makes it twists and turns in a baseball season that is already shortened to 60 games.

Now with just three games played, is this the end of the 2020 season?  Let’s not put the horse before the cart, it just may be, but if this is just a blip to be gotten over, if health protocols are followed completely there may be hope that the season can continue.

It’s not a surprise that this has happened to the Miami Marlins.  Florida is the new epicenter for the virus.  And the Miami/Dade county is the worst spot in Florida where the Marlins are located at Marlins Park.  The New York Yankees are not scheduled to visit Florida until they fly there from Baltimore on August 6th when they face the Tampa Bay Rays in a four-game set at Tropicana Field.  It will be the only time they are in Florida in the short season.  The Miami Marlins will meet up with the Yankees in the last series of the season, but at Yankee Stadium.

Meanwhile, as the Phillies await the test results, which probably not be known until this evening, the Phillies will be taking steps to get their park ready for future play. They will fumigate the visitor lockers and clubhouse as well as the entire visitor’s dugout.

This first outbreak will test how the MLB will handle situations that we’ve expected to come up.  Whether you use the term canceled or postponed, in such a short season with few days off, it is not known if these games will ever be played.

Stay with EmpireSportsMedia.com for all the latest Yankee and baseball news.  More on this story as it develops.

 

MLB News: Miami Marlins shut down with 14 positive COVID-19 tests

New York Yankees, Rosell Herrera

What started out on Thursday for MLB on a quiet note has turned out to be a horrible start of the MLB Season.  As of this morning, 12 Miami Marlin players and two coaches have tested positive for the coronavirus.  They have canceled their home opener at Tropicana Fields tonight against the Baltimore Orioles.

This is horrible news for the Marlins and all of baseball.  Yesterday the Marlins met the Phillies while they had four active cases.  Did the Marlins expose the Philly players with the asymptomatic players? Tonight the Phillies are scheduled to play the New York Yankees. The Yankees will have decisions to make as they face the Phillies in the next for games.

Four individuals consented to allow the Marlins to disclose their positive test ahead of Monday’s news: Catcher Jorge Alfaro, outfielders Garrett Gooper and Harold Ramirez, and pitcher Jose Urena who was scratched prior to his Sunday start.  The other ten now infected may have played in yesterday’s game.

More later, as this story develops.  Stay with EmpireSportsMedia.com for all the latest baseball news.

New York Mets: McNeil Stays Red Hot in Loss to Marlins

Tuesday’s matchup between the New York Mets and Miami Marlins featured Noah Syndergaard‘s second Spring start. It was not as dominant as his first, and the three early runs he allowed were too much for the Mets to make up.

In the first inning, Syndergaard retired the first two with ease before allowing a homer to Garrett Cooper. The second inning also led to some two-out magic for the Marlins. A hit by pitch and fielder’s choice moved Harold Ramirez to second base, and Chad Wallach knocked him for the Marlins second run. An ill-advised throw from Amed Rosario on a fielder’s choice allowed Lewis Brinson to score for the third run.

Syndergaard put together a 1-2-3 third inning to complete his outing on a high note. Overall, he threw three innings, allowed three runs (two earned), two hits while striking out five. One of the positives for Syndergaard is the five strikeouts to zero walks he produced.

McNeil Carries the Offense

The Mets have been dead last in runs through the early part of Spring Training, but none of that is Jeff McNeil‘s fault. The All-Star supplied two hits, including a leadoff home run. He is hitting .533, the highest mark in Spring Training. Andres Gimenez also continued to stay hot by supplying a double off the bench to move his average to .333 with a 1.010 OPS.

Brandon Nimmo is quietly hitting .357 after his 1-for-3 game today, but the rest of the lineup is in the dust. Robinson Cano is hitting .200, Pete Alonso is hitting .143, with a .333 OPS, and Amed Rosario still has not recorded an out yet. Thankfully there are multiple weeks left in Spring Training, so the pressure to right themselves is not high yet.

Bullpen Work

Robert Gsellman threw two innings, allowing one run after Syndergaard left. Jeurys Familia followed up with one strikeout over his inning of work. He still has not allowed a run in the Spring. Brad Brach and Paul Sewald also pitched scoreless innings. Despite allowing two runs, Adonis Uceta, struck out three batters in the ninth.

Marcus Stroman faces the St. Louis Cardinals once again for his third Spring start. He should be the first Met to get to the four-inning plateau in Spring Training.

 

deGrom and Wacha Shine in Split Squad Outings

The New York Mets starting pitching has been nothing short of elite through the first ten games of Spring Training. While the bats are still shaking the rust off, the pitching has exceeded expectations so far. In their split-squad games on Sunday, they beat the Nationals 3-1 and lost to the Marlins, 7-2.

Jacob deGrom picked up where he left off in 2019. The back to back Cy Young winner threw three scoreless innings, only allowing one hit and striking out two batters. He a majority of the Nationals everyday players and made it look easy to cruise through the lineup once.

Michael Wacha also pitched well against the Marlins. Over his three scoreless innings of work, he allowed a walk, two hits and struck out one. Wacha still firmly believes he is a starting pitcher, and his two Spring starts show he should be a starter.

Diaz Settles In

If you did not hear about Edwin Diaz’s outing, there were not any problems. He threw a scoreless fourth inning with the only blemish being a Ryan Zimmerman double. Justin Wilson followed by striking out the side in the fifth inning. He has retired all six batters he has faced, and four of them are on strikeouts.

Jeff McNeil continued to stay hot with two hits in the same amount of at-bats. His average is now .500 for the Spring. Michael Conforto homered for the first time and now has hits in three consecutive games after starting 1-for-8. Robinson Cano also added a two-run double to open up the Mets scoring in the first.

Who’s Hot, Who’s Not

Pete Alonso lined a single to center field for his only hit in three at-bats. The concerns were only small for 2019’s home run champ, and the single took the stress off the Polar Bear. Eduardo Nunez has started the Spring hot, his two hits Sunday moved him to 5-for-15. Nunez was a non-roster invite but could easily steal a spot away from Luis Guillorme.

Amed Rosario continued his struggles at the plate. He went hitless in three at-bats and is hitless in all five of his games so far. Only two of the at-bats ended in strikeouts, which is a good sign for the young shortstop. As he settles in more, the hits should follow.

The Mets get a day off on Monday before welcoming in the Marlins to Port St. Lucie. Noah Syndergaard will make his second start of the Spring.

New York Mets: Porcello Improves in His Second Spring Start

New York Mets, Rick Porcello

Despite the New York Mets dropping to the Miami Marlins 3-1, Rick Porcello looked a lot better during Thursday’s start. The other Mets big league relievers pitched well again while the depth pitchers struggled. The loss moved the Mets to 1-5 and the Marlins to 6-0.

Wins and losses are meaningless during the Spring. The situations for each team also differ for the Mets and Marlins as well. The Mets roster is mostly set for the regular season, while the Marlins have plenty of players trying to latch on to a roster spot. As long as the regulars are playing well, the Mets should not be worried.

Pitching Ups and Downs

Porcello threw up twos across the board. Two innings, two hits, two strikeouts. He worked in and out of trouble in the first inning then pitched a 1-2-3 in his second inning of work. Brad Brach and Robert Gsellman followed to pitch the third and fourth with success. Each threw perfect innings, and both have not allowed run in the Spring. Both Brach and Gsellman are key middle relief pitchers and could earn bigger spots if Edwin Diaz and Dellin Betances are holes in the bullpen.

The minor league depth crew of Corey Oswalt, Stephen Nogosek, and Nick Rumbelow all allowed runs during their outings. While no one from the trio was particularly bad, the minor leaguers who finish off the games have already cost the Mets some games early in the Spring.

Awaken the Polar Bear

Pete Alonso is still shaking the offseason rust but showed signs of life with his double in the first inning. He was hitless in nine at-bats heading into Thursday’s game. The baserunning still needed WD-40 as he was picked off second to conclude the inning.

Michael Conforto is another Met who is trying to find his hitting groove. He went 1-for-2 with a single to improve to 2-for-10 in the Spring.

On Friday, the Mets face Adam Wainwright and the St. Louis Cardinals for the second time of the Spring. The Mets trot Marcus Stroman out for his second start and first in Port St. Lucie. Stroman allowed one run in 1.2 innings against the Cardinals to open up the Spring.

New York Yankees: Neil Walker Signs With Marlins Despite Return Rumors

New York Yankees utility man Neil Walker has reportedly signed a one-year deal with the Miami Marlins, for two million dollars. Entering this off-season, there became a lot of talks about the Yankees possibly resigning him for another year.

Before the Yankees got Troy Tulowitzki and had announced they had serious interest in Manny Machado, Walker may have been an option to start the season at second base while Gleyber Torres shifted to Shortstop to fill the shoes of the injured Didi Gregorious.

Yankees’ Walker 2018 performance:

In 2018, Neil Walker had statistically his worse season after getting off to a dreadful start, before finally picking it up just before the all-star break. He hit .219. had an OBP of .309, and had a slugging percentage of .354, all career lows. Though he did have several clutch hits to start rallies and a couple walk-offs.

He wasn’t able to really get it going until he saw more of a role with the team. He first saw an everyday role when Gleyber Torres saw DL time in July, then playing some RF when Aaron Judge was injured and Giancarlo Stanton needed to rest or DH to nurse hamstring tightness.

Walker had previously not seen OF action, but needed to when the team was in a ‘next man up mentality’. He also learned how to play third base after Brandon Drury had gone down with an early season injury, and knowing that they may need help on defense with Andujar having fielding skills that need development.

How he will impact the Marlins

Walker will serve as a veteran in another utility role in Miami, but most likely playing more first base. Ex-Yankees Starlin Castro and Martin Prado occupy second base and third base, and the most support will be needed at first base.

The Marlins no longer have a true first baseman after they traded Justin Bour to Philadelphia, now signing with the Los Angeles Angels. The Marlins have a very young, underdeveloped team that needs veteran support and all-around depth. I know that Walker would much rather play for a contender, but this is a good fit for him.

New York Mets Series Preview: Miami Marlins (9/11-9/13)

The New York Mets start September strong by taking six out of eight games and welcome in the Miami Marlins for a four game series. The Mets strong starting pitching has allowed them to have such a successful last couple of weeks. The Marlins have been out of contention almost from the beginning of the season because of the depletion of their roster in the offseason. The Mets have the upper hand in the season series taking seven of the 12 games.

Probable Pitching Matchups

(9/11, 7:10 PM) Jose Urena (5-12, 4.41 ERA) vs. Jacob deGrom (8-8, 1.68 ERA)

(9/12, 4:10 PM) Jeff Brigham (0-1, 9.00 ERA) vs. Zack Wheeler (10-7, 3.39 ERA)

(9/12, Right After Game 1) Trevor Richards (3-8, 4.73 ERA) vs. Jason Vargas (5-9, 6.75 ERA)

(9/13, 7:10 PM) Sandy Alcantara (2-0, 0.75 ERA) vs. TBD

Will Wins Cost deGrom a Cy Young?

Jacob deGrom is making one of his last few starts in his push toward the Cy Young award. In his last start he broke the major league record by having a 25th consecutive start of allowing three runs of less. With the wins stat completely outdated deGrom should be the easy choice for the Cy Young, but baseball writers will always have medieval thinking which might hurt deGrom in the voting process.

The youth movement the Mets have had over the last couple of weeks has led to their better play. Amed Rosario, Jeff McNeil and Dominic Smith are just three of the recent hitters to lead the Mets. Rosario and Smith have renewed, but opposite approaches at the plate. Rosario has shown more patience and Smith has been more aggressive in his recent call-up to the big leagues. McNeil has produced one of the highest contact rates since his debut and has hit .340.

Long Season Almost Over For the Marlins

The Marlins have not had a month over .500 this season and likely will not get over that hump in September. Their roster currently consists of prospects, below average players and a few solid everyday players. J.T. Realmuto is undoubtedly the best player on the roster and will likely be a piece Derek Jeter and the Marlins front office will build around. He has hit .287 with 20 home runs and 70 RBIs which are both career highs.

Starlin Castro has been one of the most consistent players over this decade and his continued his success this season. Castro has recorded 30 doubles for the first time since 2014 and will couple that with a .288 average. The rise in doubles is likely due to the move from the bandbox that was Yankee Stadium to the spacious Marlins Park. Castro has remained on the top of his game even with the drop off in talent level around him.

Matchups to Lookout For

Derek Dietrich vs. Jacob deGrom: 5-23 (.217) Walk, 12 Strikeouts

J.T. Realmuto vs. Jacob deGrom: 3-19 (.158) 6 Strikeouts

Jose Reyes vs. Jose Urena: 6-18 (.333) Double, Triple, Strikeout

Jay Bruce vs. Jose Urena: 5-15 (.333) Double, 2 Home Runs, Walk, 3 Strikeouts

Interesting Stats

Zack Wheeler in the Second Half of 2018: 7-1, 1.50 ERA, 60 Innings Pitched, 39 Hits, 10 Earned Runs, 12 Walks, 62 Strikeouts

J.T. Realmuto when swinging at the first pitch in 2018: 21-47 (.447) 10 Doubles, Triples, 3 Home Runs

New York Mets Series Preview: Miami Marlins (8/10-8/12)

The bottom dwellers in the National League East will face off in Miami as the New York Mets will take on the Miami Marlins. The Mets took two out of three against the Cincinnati Reds and had an outburst of eight runs in the final game of the series. The Marlins have lost eight of their last nine games and just lost two out three against the St. Louis Cardinals. The Mets have a slight edge in the season series, taking 5 out of 9 games.

Probable Pitching Matchups

(8/10, 7:10 PM) Zack Wheeler (6-6, 3.89 ERA) vs. Jose Urena (3-11, 4.66 ERA)

(8/11, 7:10 PM) Corey Oswalt (1-2, 5.13 ERA) vs. Dan Straily (4-5, 4.35 ERA)

(8/12, 1:10 PM) Noah Syndergaard (7-2, 3.17 ERA) vs. Wei-Yin Chen (4-8, 5.48 ERA)

Wheeler Tapping Into His Potential

Zack Wheeler has been pitching like the number one prospect the Mets traded Carlos Beltran for. He had a 3.13 ERA in July and put together seven shutout innings in his first start of August. Wheeler threw the only shutout of his career against the Marlins, in Miami. The elements are certainly in Wheeler’s favor to continue his dominance.

Austin Jackson has been a pleasant surprise to the Mets ever since they signed him off the free agent market. In 11 games he is hitting .438 with a .688 slugging percentage and has taken away playing time from fellow veteran Jose Bautista. Jackson does not have the range he once had in center field, but still remains the only true center fielder on the roster. He will get a long leash the same way Matt den Dekker did and this leash should allow Jackson to finish the season as a Met.

Marlins and Their Rebuild

It has been apparent since the offseason that the Marlins were going to tank the entire season. They shipped away all of their high payroll players for prospects and cheaper alternatives to fill their roster. Starlin Castro was one of those players, but he is putting up his typical numbers. He is hitting .285 with 127 hits and it was surprising to see that he remained with the Marlins at the trade deadline.

J.T. Realmuto is the last major trade piece left on the Marlins roster. He is one of the best catchers in baseball and will certainly draw a huge package in any trade he is included in. He has 24 doubles, 14 home runs and is one of the faster catchers in baseball. Realmuto has always put up good numbers against the Mets, hitting .303 over his career.

Matchups to lookout for

Jose Reyes vs. Jose Urena: 6-18 (.333) Double, Triple, Strikeout

Justin Bour vs. Noah Syndergaard: 5-17 (.294) Double, 7 Strikeouts

Derek Dietrich vs. Noah Syndergaard: 6-15 (.400) 2 Doubles, 2 Strikeouts

Jose Reyes vs. Wei-Yin Chen: 4-15 (.267) Double, 3 Strikeouts

Interesting Stats

Brandon Nimmo in High Leverage Situations in 2018: 10-52 (.192) 2 Doubles, 4 Home Runs, 7 Walks, 20 Strikeouts

J.T. Realmuto this month: 1-23 (.043) 6 Strikeouts