If the Phillies could have drawn up an ideal return to action after a week-long vacation, they probably wouldn’t have chosen the red hot New York Yankees as their opponent. They also likely wouldn’t have selected Gerrit Cole to be the first pitcher they’d face. Cole would be going up against Jake Arrieta, and judging by Twitter, there wasn’t a lot of optimism regarding this matchup.
Thinking about Jake Arrieta facing the Yankees lineup and hey maybe they should postpone tonight's game too just to be extra careful— Mike Meech (@meechone) August 3, 2020
TFW your team hasn't played in a week because another nameless team reportedly went out on the town in Atlanta during a pandemic and now the match-up is Arrieta v. Cole#Phillies pic.twitter.com/nwEwg2msed— Ellen Adair (@ellen_adair) August 3, 2020
The level of optimism didn’t grow when Arrieta surrendered a home run to the first batter he faced.
DJ LeMahieu - New York Yankees (2) pic.twitter.com/eMrIJpzc22— MLB HR Videos (@MLBHRVideos) August 3, 2020
That home run aside, Arrieta wasn’t bad. He allowed three runs in five innings, and one of those runs could be attributed to the questionable dimensions of Yankee Stadium’s left field. He seemed to get stronger as the game progressed, striking out four consecutive batters at one point. If they can get that type of performance from their third-best starter on a regular basis, the Phillies’ rotation should be in good shape.
The bullpen is a different story. It seems that every game the Phillies have an unknown reliever enter the game and instantly make things worse. On Monday night, it was Deolis Guerra’s turn to add fuel to the fire.
Deolis Guerra gave up three runs in 2/3 inning. #Phillies bullpen so far this season: 7.82 ERA (11 earned runs in 12 2/3 innings).— Todd Zolecki (@ToddZolecki) August 4, 2020
Guerra’s implosion pretty much put the game out of reach because unsurprisingly, the Phillies offense didn’t do much against Cole. The only run they scored against him came thanks to a Jay Bruce solo home run in the third.
Jay Bruce launches his first home run of the season to tie this game up. pic.twitter.com/KUYUGNtGZ6— Phillies Nation (@PhilliesNation) August 3, 2020
The Phillies caught a slight break when a rain delay forced Cole out of the game, but the two runs they scratched out against the Yankees’ bullpen wasn’t nearly enough.
The Phillies will play the Yankees three more times this week. The good news is that the rest of the Yankees’ rotation isn’t nearly as good as Cole. And in perhaps even better news, Tuesday’s game has already been postponed and will be made up as a doubleheader. Thanks to wacky 2020 rules, doubleheader games will only be seven innings long, which means that there are four fewer innings that might need to be covered by the Phillies’ bullpen. Based on what we’ve seen from them so far, that can only improve the team’s chances of victory.