ST. LOUIS — Just when it looked like the Cardinals were about to get back to a somewhat normal (well as normal as 2020 will allow) schedule, the coronavirus proved it had other plans.
On Friday, the team announced it had three more positive tests for COVID-19 in the organization: Pitcher Ryan Helsley, outfielder Austin Dean and a staff member.
The entire weekend series against the Chicago Cubs in St. Louis has been postponed.
That's now eight games the team will have to make up. The Cardinals have played just five games this season. They're one of four teams yet to play at least 10.
Of course the main focus should be on the health of those infected, but eventually you do have to look at the baseball side of things. And when you start to look at the baseball aspect, the forecast becomes gloomier by the day.
With the entire series against the Cubs postponed, the Cardinals will have to try and play 55 games in 49 days. And that's if they get back on track on Monday as planned, which is still up in the air.
It is, to put it mildly, a logistical nightmare.
It has not yet been announced when the Cubs series may be made up, but before that, the Cardinals already had five days with doubleheaders on the schedule and only two off days on the adjusted calendar.
And that's not even factoring in if this new delay persists for longer than the weekend, or if later in the year there's another outbreak on the Cardinals, or one of their opponents. (which is entirely possible)
Major League Baseball has made the move to institute 7-inning doubleheaders for the rest of the season, in an attempt to help players and speed things up, but still, that's a ridiculous amount of baseball in a very short amount of time.
Just think about all that coordination.
The question eventually does become, at what point is another approach needed? If the Cardinals miss more games, it could become unfeasible to play an entire 60-game schedule. That's not be raining on the parade, that's just how it is.
Even Cardinals President of John Mozeliak said Friday night that it seems "mathematically challenging" to play a full 60-game schedule after this latest setback.
So what's the solution?
Do the Cardinals play as many games as they can and if they don't hit 60 have their winning percentage decide playoff possibilities? Do the Cardinals start forfeiting games? Does the entire league shut down?
Right now, nobody knows. This is uncharted territory. And the Cardinals continue hurdling along full speed ahead with no guide to what comes next.