Phillies Benched Over Coronavirus Concerns: MLB Facing First Major Storm

Written By Nathan Frederick on July 27, 2020 - Last Updated on May 31, 2021
Phillies benched as they await COVID testing

It begins.

The baseball season’s forecast was unpredictable from the very start. Teams were not placed in a strict bubble and have been allowed to travel among their respective cities for games.

And for a few days at least, it all worked. Opening day went off on Thursday. Most teams played a three-game series from Friday through Sunday. Fans had at least something to root for and bet on as well.

But this baseball season will always have some dark clouds looming somewhere on the horizon. And today the first storm is developing.

According to ESPN, seven players from the Miami Marlins and two of the team’s coaches tested positive for the coronavirus. That brings the Marlins’ total cases to at least 13 in recent days. Thus, the team’s home opener with the Baltimore Orioles tonight was canceled. But the ripple effect also reached Philadelphia, because the Phillies hosted Miami in the teams’ first three games.

So Philadelphia’s game tonight with the Yankees has also been postponed. In the interim, the involved teams will be quarantining and undergoing more tests.

“The members of the Marlins’ traveling party are self-quarantining in place while awaiting the outcome of those results,” MLB said in a statement to ESPN. “Major League Baseball has been coordinating with the Major League Baseball Players Association; the Marlins; the Orioles; the Marlins’ weekend opponent, the Phillies; and club medical staffs, and will continue to provide updates as appropriate.”

Further test results expected later today

The next development will take place later today amid further testing. Phillies reporter Scott Lauber reported in a tweet that Marlins president Derek Jeter said the team will remain in Philadelphia pending additional tests.

It’s safe to assume the Marlins will not be playing for at least a few days and perhaps many more after that. The Phillies’ status is more uncertain but likely will be clarified once their test results arrive.

Could good news emerge from all this?


The Major League Baseball offices are overwhelmed with tension right now. If the Phillies were to encounter a similar COVID outbreak, the entire National League schedule would be in serious jeopardy.

However, if the Phillies emerge mostly unscathed from a three-game series with a team that had a rampant outbreak, that news might provide some ballast to the entire season.

The show goes on with the Pirates’ home opener vs. the Brewers

There is tension and uncertainty looming everywhere you look in baseball right now.

But at press time, nothing else has changed. Ten other games are still scheduled for today, all of them with betting lines posted at PA sportsbooks. In Pennsylvania, the Pirates are set to hold their home opener against the Milwaukee Brewers.

Bet Rivers Sportsbook, PlaySugarHouse and DraftKings Sportsbook have the Brewers at -177 on the moneyline. The Pirates are +155, and the game’s total is set at 9.5.

And at the moment, DraftKings and FanDuel are still hosting tonight’s daily fantasy contests, minus the two canceled games.

So for now, baseball is safe. But during this unpredictable season, things could change quickly.

There are storm clouds always looming on the horizon.

Let’s hope they miss us.

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Nathan Frederick

Nathan Frederick is an award-winning writer with more than 1,000 published bylines and two decades of journalism experience. His work has won awards from the Pennsylvania Society of Professional Journalists, the Keystone Press Association, and the Associated Press Sports Editors. He has also authored three books, one of which debuted as an Amazon No. 1 New Release.

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