In a year of strange happenings, it’s no wonder today’s doubleheader at Citizens Bank Park between the Phillies and Yankees feels like something out of Artie Lange’s cult classic film “Beer League.”
You have the Yankees making the drive south on I-95, but they’ll play the role of host in Game 1 while the Phillies will wear their pinstriped uniforms. Then you have the fact both ends of the DH will last just seven innings, and you have a recipe for a day of baseball at Citizens Bank Park that’s oddly unique.
“I think the routine for baseball this year is there’s no routine,” Phillies manager Joe Girardi said. “When my phone rings, I cringe.”
The Phillies enter today in a tough position. The club has dropped three of four to open the season, plus will need to play 56 games over the next 54 days. Following the three games with the Yankees, the club welcomes a hot Atlanta club to Citizens Bank Park for a four-game set.
The biggest concern at the outset is a bullpen sporting an ERA of 6.75, the second-highest mark in the Majors.
“I think it’s really hard to judge our bullpen right now just because we haven’t played in a week, eight days,” Girardi said following Monday’s 6-3 loss in New York. “Some of these guys haven’t worked in eight or nine days. We try to get them as much work as we can, but it’s still not game conditions.
“I think you have to give each guy three to four appearances to be fair to them with consistent work. You ask all relievers, they want consistent work. They don’t want to sit for a week and then expect to go out there and have pinpoint control and have a good feel for their breaking ball and whatever other pitches they have. I think they need some consistent work before we really make a judgment.”
Zack Wheeler will start the first game of today’s twin-bill, followed by Aaron Nola. Zach Eflin will make his season debut tomorrow while Vince Velasquez and Jake Arrieta will start the first two games of the series with the Braves. Sunday remains a question.
Game 1 lineup