Not a great start to the MLB season for Washington.
The Nationals are dealing with some coronavirus issues to start the 2021 season, which made for a sour would-be Opening Day for Nats and Mets fans alike, with the NL East rivals having to postpone the season-opener that would’ve kicked off a three-game weekend swing.
Now, there are more than a handful of players who are dealing with positive COVID-19 tests on Washington, leading to the postponement of this weekend’s opening series.
While both teams are still scheduled to be back on the field in short order, with a full, 162-game slate this year, neither team can afford lengthy layoffs, even with seven-inning doubleheader rules in place this year.
Here’s what we know about the outbreak and when we can expect both teams to play ball in 2021:
Why was Nationals vs. Mets postponed?
On Wednesday, March 31, the Nationals were informed that one of their players returned a positive test, just over a day before Washington was set to host the Mets for a 7:09 p.m. ET Opening Day start.
On Thursday, four additional players and a staff member were placed in quarantine for close contacts to the original positive test, which was conducted on Monday, the final day of spring training.
An additional three members of the Nationals tested positive, and five players in total are in quarantine, leaving them ineligible for their potential restart on Monday vs. the Braves.
Nationals GM Mike Rizzo said Thursday that he is not able to release the names of the positive players, nor does he believe that players caught the coronavirus by breaching COVID-19 protocols.
“I’ve got the utmost confidence it was not a player breaking protocol.” – Mike Rizzo on Nationals outbreak.— Britt Ghiroli (@Britt_Ghiroli) April 1, 2021
Also, the Nats’ alternate site players have no positive tests, meaning Washington can lean on replacement players for the time being as needed.
The Mets, with no COVID-19 issues, are scheduled to be in Philadelphia to start their season this coming Monday, April 5.