It’s happening, can you believe it? Baseball has found its way back to our lives. No you won’t be sipping beers and chomping on cheesesteaks at the bank this summer, but now you can sit in front of your tv and watch something that isn’t on Netflix. A unique season is ahead of us. Rule changes, roster expansion, and rotation setups just to name a few. Each team will have its own individual challenges to deal with in ways the game, and the world has never seen before. The Phillies of course have many of there own to contend with, but 3 stand out for me. Take a dive and read on my people!
- The Schedule
As you can see from the cover photo, the Phillies will be playing 42 of there 60 games against opponents who had a record better than .500 in 2019. No question that is a daunting task in a season with so little room for error. The 18 games that will be played against the Marlins, Orioles and Blue Jays are going to be quite crucial in pacing the Phils. It’s simple, they need to win the games they are supposed to win, and hope that they can play respectable ball against the contenders in the 2020 Eastern Divison.
- The Rotation
If 2019 showed us anything, it was that the Phillies rotation is not up to par with the contending teams in baseball. Yes the bullpen can be lumped in here, but the rotation is going to be key. A shortened season and new bullpen rules means these boys in the starting 5 (or 6) can and SHOULD be expected to pitch deeper into games. We have seen Aaron Nola pitch spectacularly in his scrimmage debut recently, and Zack Wheeler showed he has some exciting stuff when he’s hitting his spots. The rest of the group will need to make a routine of throwing quality starts if this team can make it back to its first postseason since 2011.
- Jay Bruce (Yup I said Jay Bruce)
It’s been a long time coming. The DH coming to the NL was inevitable and COVID-19 gave the MLB the perfect opportunity to show its fans what the future of the game looks like. Having said that, it brings me to my point. Jay Bruce proved last season he was a solid acquisition during the year (when healthy). His .221 average was something to be desired, but 12 home runs and 31 RBI’s in 51 games shows that he can still make his presence felt in a lineup. You can bet your sweet behind that he is going to be the primary DH against righties. Having his power and run production in the middle of that lineup can absolutely give the Phillies an edge if he performs at the level we need.
So it’s about time to get ready folks. July 24th the Phillies will be taking the field behind Aaron Nola against the Miami Marlins. Citizens Bank Park will get to see real baseball for the first time since September of 2019. The stands won’t be rocking, the parking lot won’t be disaster, but that doesn’t mean we can’t get loud about what’s ahead. The National Anthem will play, the skippers will exchange lineup cards, and the umpire will say play ball. We need the Phillies to do there job, but just because we can’t be in the seats cheering them on doesn’t mean we can’t do ours. Let Go Phils!!