Schedules being released is usually the domain of the NFL. After all, they’ve only got 16 (17?) of them, so it’s easy to do an analysis of the schedules relatively quickly. MLB tried to get in on that energy last night, giving us the 2020 schedule for all 30 teams. Of course, we don’t really care all that much about the NL West - we’re here for the Phillies. After pondering the 60 games that the team will play, there are some things to like, but also some things to dislike.
Like - opening against the Marlins
Sure, the Phillies have been pretty horrible against the Marlins lately. Last year, they went 9-10 against Miami, one of the primary reasons they didn’t make the playoffs. They also played one of their worst games of the season down in Miami, one in which they had a 7-0 lead that evaporated right in front of them. But they really, really need to get off to a good start and playing one of the least talented teams in the National League is a great place to start.
Miami’s starting rotation may not be in half bad of shape, but the soft underbelly of this team is probably going to be its bullpen. Early in the season, these bullpens are probably going to be used more extensively as the starters continue to work themselves into game shape as the season presses on. If the Phillies get to open their season against the Marlins, they’ll get to face that bullpen more often. It will be important to watch during that opening series that the team gets into the bullpen early so they can do the damage the lineup has the potential to do.
Dislike - four games right away against the Yankees
Now, this can be looked at two ways.
The optimist’s way of looking at it is that the team gets the Yankees out of the way early, when they might be most evenly matched. After all, both teams will be coming out of “summer camp” and will have only had one series to get used to seeing live pitching again. While the Phillies will do their opening against the Marlins, the Yankees get to open with Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin. Those guys might not be going all that deep into the games, but they are also all three former All-Stars and arguably the best threesome among starters in the game. That’s not how you’d want to open your season.
The pessimist will look at the home and home against the Yankees and see their fearsome lineup, the solid rotation and potentially dominant bullpen and realize that teams will have to start quick in order to get momentum for this spring to the playoffs. Facing a team like the Yankees isn’t a way to get off to a fast start.
Like - a decent amount of off-time in August
Prior to starting a stretch of playing 20 straight games from the end of August to the middle of September, the Phillies will have three days off in one week.
Before they head down the home stretch toward the end of the season, they’ll get a chance to rest some arms, give some of their legs time off before they are really needed. If the team can get off to that fast start, getting those off days to rest up before the heart of their schedule heats up, which includes a LOT of divisional play, can be nothing but beneficial.
Dislike - LOL, they only play Baltimore how many times?
The team doesn’t have a natural rival in the manner that the New York teams do, or the DC area teams do. But while the Phillies only get a crack at Baltimore three times, the Nationals will be able to play an extra series against them by virtue of being their “rival”. How is that fair, I ask you?
If this season gets underway, it’s going to be very interesting to see how it plays out. Personally, I can’t wait to watch Arquimedes Gamboa throwing to Darick Hall as the Phillies clinch the National League.