The Phillies lost two games Tuesday due to a lack of offense and the new MLB rules, dropping to 6-5 on the season.
What really frustrates me is that the MLB is sticking with their 2020 “CovidBall” rules during a full season in 2021. It made a lot of sense to play 7-inning doubleheaders last season — teams only had so many days to get 60 games in and with teams testing positive every other day, there was no other option to get the games in.
The Phillies played in six 7-inning doubleheaders last season and they finished with a 2-10 record in those games. Playing 14 innings of baseball in 2021 should not be considered two games. There are 162 games, over 5 months of regular season baseball to be played this season, why are we squeaking in two games against a divisional opponent in April? What is the rush to get these games in? In the past, a divisional rainout would lead to the game getting pushed to a scheduled off day between the teams, or a late season day/night doubleheader with both games being the traditional 9-innings.
The Phillies had an early in the season off-night, Nola was not sharp, and the bats were ice cold from the first pitch of game one. Now the Phillies find themselves just one game over .500 after a very promising start to the season.
The runner on second to start extra innings rule needs to be addressed as well. This is another rule that was implemented during the shortened 2020 season. What this rule allows is the last batted out of the ninth inning to start the tenth inning on second base. If the run is scored, it does not count as an earned run to the pitcher but it does count as a blown save if it gives up the lead. This rule should also have been left in 2020. It served well last year, with games everyday and a lot of games being doubleheaders, teams could not afford to have 18 inning showdowns. Pitching staffs were overworked and there was just not enough time to have six-hour baseball games.
The MLB should re-work this rule. The 12th inning should start with a runner on second if the game gets to that point. A lot of baseball games are close late, it’s the nature of the game. Allow teams to have some sort of traditional overtime before it turns into a simulation. Hector Neris wore it yesterday in game one, but who can blame him? He is a closer and the inning basically starts with a leadoff double. A pitcher is on red alert the second he comes out of the pen in extras.
Major League Baseball needs to leave 2020 in 2020. These tacky rule changes are ruining the game.