2020 Philadelphia Phillies
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2020 Philadelphia Phillies / Franchise: Philadelphia Phillies / BR Team Page
Managed by Joe Girardi
History, Comments, Contributions
The 2020 Philadelphia Phillies came into the season with the goal of finally making it back to the postseason, after two disappointing seasons under manager Gabe Kapler in 2018 and 2019 in which they played around .500, in spite of significant investments in free agents, most notably OF Bryce Harper and P Jake Arrieta, and others acquired via trades such as IF Jean Segura and C J.T. Realmuto. There were more additions in the off-season, in addition to new manager Joe Girardi: SS Didi Gregorius and P Zack Wheeler, making this a very good team on paper. But they were also playing in a tough division, with three other teams - the Atlanta Braves, New York Mets and Washington Nationals - also very good on paper.
The Phillies opened their season at home on July 24th against the ugly ducklings of the NL East, the Miami Marlins, and lost, 5-2. They won the next day, 7-1, as Wheeler was very solid in his debut, but then lost the rubber match, 11-6. Unbeknownst to them at the time, the Marlins had had a few cases of Coronavirus on their team, but elected to play that game anyway, instead of postponing it so that everyone could be properly tested and isolated as need be. The result was that the Marlins quickly had a full outbreak on their hands and were stuck in quarantine in Philadelphia, PA, while the Phillies could not play their next series, scheduled to be against the New York Yankees, as the visitors' clubhouse needed to be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. Soon, there were two positive cases among the Phillies themselves, a coach and a clubhouse attendant, but the spread was quickly controlled - but not before they had to sit out their next series as well, which had been scheduled against the Toronto Blue Jays. They finally managed to take the field again on August 3rd, only to face a red hot Yankees team that was administering a proper beating to all of its opponents of late. They lost that game, 6-3, as Gerrit Cole had the upper hand over Arrieta.
It quickly became apparent that the Phillies had one serious handicap: a bullpen whose performance was historically bad. Entering the game of August 21st, its collective ERA was an ungodly 8.07. They had 2 saves but 5 blown saves, negating some solid work by the top three starters, Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler and Arrieta. The team's record of 9-12 was largely caused by their inability to hold a lead. The second game of a doubleheader against the Toronto Blue Jays on August 20th, in which the bullpen had blown a 7-0 lead, had been the final straw. The next day, the front office made some moves, acquiring Brandon Workman and Heath Hembree from the Boston Red Sox, and David Hale from the New York Yankees. They had to give up a couple of decent prospects who were not going to help in the immediate, Addison Russ and Connor Seabold, and a once-promising prospect who had lately turned into an arsonist, Nick Pivetta.
Awards and Honors