Cincinnati Reds Latest MLB Team with Games Postponed as Player Tests for COVID-19

Posted on: August 16, 2020, 11:45h. 

Last updated on: August 17, 2020, 02:26h.

Just when it looked like Major League Baseball was back to running on all cylinders, another team has now been sidelined by COVID-19.

Cincinnati Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart hits a home run in Thursday’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. The team’s games on Saturday and Sunday were postponed after a Reds player tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday. (Image: Bryan Woolston/AP)

On Saturday, the Cincinnati Reds announced their Saturday and Sunday games against the Pittsburgh Pirates would be postponed after a player tested positive for contracting the virus. The decision to stop playing enables MLB and the Reds to test additional players and staff, as well as follow through on contact tracing procedures.

The team did not identify the infected player, and neither did The Athletic, which broke the story late Friday night.

As the news made rounds late Friday night, odds on Saturday’s Reds-Pirates game were taken down by Caesars Sports and other sportsbooks.

MLB had hoped Saturday would be the first day since the opening weekend where all 30 teams were able to play on the same day. After that weekend, MLB had to postpone six games for the Miami Marlins when players and team staffers contracted the virus. The St. Louis Cardinals also suffered an outbreak at the beginning of the month.

On Saturday, the Cardinals resumed play for the first time in two weeks after an outbreak hit the team. Before then, Cincinnati had played 20 games, a third of the shortened 2020 regular season, while St. Louis had just played 5.

The plan is for the Cardinals and their opponents to make up as many missed games as possible with doubleheaders.

Only One Red Positive, So Far

As of Sunday morning, baseball reporter Jon Heyman was reporting that all Reds players tested negative for the virus on Saturday. That sets up the team for a possible return to play this week, possibly as early as a Monday doubleheader with the Pirates to make up the missed games.

However, as Steve Mancuso from Reds Content Plus notes, there’s no guarantee that will happen, nor is there certainty that the Reds are clear from the COVID threat for now. The incubation period for the virus can last 14 days, and the average period would extend into this upcoming week.

Still, only one Reds player tested positive at the onset, whereas, with the Marlins and Cardinals, multiple players tested positive simultaneously.

If only one Reds player has been positive for part of last week, the odds of spread are less,” Mancuso writes.

If the Reds and Pirates cannot make up the games on Monday, the teams will have two more series later in the season to possibly make up the games.

Disappointing Start for Still-Contending Reds

The Reds were considered a trendy pick by some to compete for the National League Central title, with odds ranging from+2500 to +3000, and possibly even contend for the World Series. After boasting one of MLB’s top starting pitching rotations last year, the team uncharacteristically spent big in the free agent market. Among the acquisitions they made were the signings of sluggers Nick Castellanos and Mike Moustakas.

BetMGM set the over-under on team wins at 32.5, and 95 percent of the bettors who wagered on that bet on the over.

However, while Castellanos has swung a hot bat for most of the start, Moustakas has battled injures and only played seven games so far this season. In addition, some poor relief pitching has offset the strong starting pitching, giving the Reds a 9-11 mark through the first 20 games.

Despite that disappointing record, the club finds itself only a game behind for a playoff spot, as MLB will take eight teams in both leagues for this year’s postseason.