SAN DIEGO -- The Padres and Giants resumed play with a doubleheader Sunday, following two postponements because of a positive COVID-19 test. Early Sunday morning, Major League Baseball released the following statement:
“The MLB-MLBPA Joint Committee, in conjunction with each team’s medical staff, reviews all positive COVID-19 tests on an individual basis to determine how each case should be handled in order to ensure the health and safety of the players and club personnel.
“Following a careful review of all of the details presented in the particular case regarding a San Francisco Giants player that led to the postponements of their road games in San Diego on Friday and Saturday, the committee has determined that the presumptive positive did not represent an actual infection or present a risk to other personnel.
“As a result, the Giants and the Padres have been scheduled for a doubleheader at Petco Park on Sunday, beginning at 1:10 p.m. PT.”
"It's nice to be back," Padres manager Jayce Tingler said on Sunday. "It's a blessing to be back. Thank goodness it was a false positive and everybody's healthy and everybody's good to go."
Here's what you need to know about the Padres' resumption of play and how the two postponements affect their plans:
When will the two games be made up?
One is being made up in the doubleheader Sunday, leaving only one game that needs to be rescheduled. Major League Baseball has not yet announced the date of that rescheduled game. But the Padres and Giants play at Oracle Park on the season's final weekend, Sept. 25-27. It's possible one of those dates will be used for a doubleheader.
How does this affect the Padres?
The Padres had won five straight and have been arguably the hottest team in baseball over the past month. Then, moments before first pitch Friday night, they were handed a pair of unexpected off-days.
No problem, Tingler said.
"We've got a group of guys that'll play any time anywhere," Tingler said. "We weren't really thinking ahead to doubleheaders here or there, what that would look like. We've got a mindset that we're ready to play ball, you let us know when.
“But I think we’re all grateful to be able to get two in today.”
Because of an off-day Thursday, the Padres won't need to fill an extra rotation spot, and either Clevinger or Richards could start Friday in Seattle on normal rest.
Why Clevinger on Sunday and not Lamet?
"We thought it was important to keep Clevinger on his routine," Tingler said.
That justification makes sense. It has been an unsettled season for Clevinger, who is only now finding a rhythm to his starts after being traded from Cleveland to San Diego. Might as well do your best to keep him in that rhythm.
But there could be something else bubbling beneath the surface here. …
What does this mean for a potential playoff rotation?
The Padres acquired Clevinger to be their frontline postseason weapon. But Lamet has been excellent, too, and his place in the rotation was one spot ahead of Clevinger's. So there were fair questions to be asked about who would get the Game 1 start.
Not anymore. With Clevinger now lined up one day ahead of Lamet, that seems like the Padres' (fairly formidable) 1-2 punch entering the postseason. The way the schedule lines up, they'll make two additional starts down the stretch.
So what's the playoff rotation?
Presumably, the Wild Card Series rotation lines up like this:
That trio is now scheduled to pitch -- in that order -- on consecutive days. They've been the Padres’ three best starters this season. It adds up.
The Padres have three off-days down the stretch, so they can adjust on the fly if need be. But barring something unforeseen, Paddack and Richards appear to be competing for a potential Game 1 start in the Division Series if the Padres advance past the Wild Card round.
Players on the big league roster reported to Petco Park for COVID-19 testing on Saturday. Then they returned home while awaiting results. But it was status quo for the rest of the player pool at the team's alternate training site.
That includes left fielder Tommy Pham, who has been out four weeks following surgery to address a fractured hamate bone in his left hand. Pham received at-bats at the University of San Diego, and the Padres remain hopeful he can return this coming week -- potentially against the Dodgers.