In just a little bit over a month, the Philadelphia Phillies and Major League Baseball’s 29 other teams will take the field in an abbreviated 60-game season. The shortened 2020 campaign will include a universal designated hitter and a runner starting on second base in extra innings. Many believe the universal DH will only help the Phillies in their first season under Joe Girardi. Whether it’s Alec Bohm, Jay Bruce or someone else on the roster, having another bat in an offense that was inconsistent a year ago is huge.
We’ll get a clearer picture on the starting lineup and the pitching rotation in the weeks to come, but predictions have already begun on potential win-loss totals.
Vegas has officially set the over/under’s for the season, with the Phils at 31.5. That’s just a shade over the .500 mark. While that may seem achievable, the Phillies schedule will be difficult.
The Phillies will play 40 games against the National League East, which includes the defending World Champion Washington Nationals, New York Mets, Miami Marlins and reigning NL East winner — the Atlanta Braves. In addition, they’ll have 20 games against the AL East, which could get dangerous against teams like the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays. The NL East title could be hard to come by with the Braves roster looking equally as dangerous as before, so the Phils’ best chance to snap an eight-year postseason drought could be by claiming one of the two National League Wild Card spots.
In the offseason, the Phillies did some work to improve their pitching staff by adding Zack Wheeler. They also signed Didi Gregorius to man the shortstop position. Wheeler could opt-out of the 2020 season, but if he doesn’t, there’s no doubt that the starting staff should take a step forward. As for the lineup, the Phillies expect to have Andrew McCutchen back and Bryce Harper has been working hard at getting his swing ready for the 2020 season in Las Vegas. Jean Segura is coming off of one of his worst offensive seasons to date, so a bounce back could be in the cards for him as well.
Still, there are plenty of question marks when it comes to the bullpen, the back-end of the rotation and streakier players like Rhys Hoskins. It’s certainly a good thing that baseball is coming back, but the Phillies have their work cut out for them if they want to return to the postseason.
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