Philadelphia Phillies: The Opening Day that wasn’t

The Philadelphia Phillies should have been starting their season today against the Miami Marlins.

Now it feels real.

With sports, and the world, coming to a grinding halt, we’ve finally arrived at the day that should have seen the dawn of a new Philadelphia Phillies season – Opening Day around Major League Baseball.

Instead, they won’t be playing anytime soon, as they were scheduled to today against the Miami Marlins. As a result, Marlins Park will be only slightly less full than it would have been if baseball were still happening.

I find myself playing through the rhythm of the game and what I expected to see from the Phils, especially in this first contest right out of the gate.

For starters, how would the lineup have looked? Aside from Bryce Harper hitting third, Rhys Hoskins in the cleanup spot, and Aaron Nola batting ninth and pitching, your guess was as good as mine. It certainly looked like Joe Girardi was leaning toward the unorthodox move of having catcher J.T. Realmuto lead off while the club waited for Andrew McCutchen to return from his injury, a move that I wasn’t a fan of. But it doesn’t matter now, as McCutchen should be healthy whenever we get back to playing.

Would Jean Segura be hitting second, where he spent most of last year? And what does that mean for Scott Kingery? How far down the lineup would that bump him? I think that would have depended on how married Girardi was to alternating lefties and righties in his order, something that managers were going to have to possibly re-think because of MLB’s “three batter rule” that was going into effect this year.

And with McCutchen out, how would the outfield look? I’m assuming that Jay Bruce would have gotten the opening day nod in left field and would get most of the playing time there going forward.

As for center, was it Adam Haseley‘s job, with Roman Quinn filling in whenever, wherever needed? Or were the two of them going to platoon? If so, you have to wonder who would have played today against presumptive Marlins Opening Day starter Sandy Alcantara, a right-hander. Keep in mind that Haseley bats left-handed while Quinn switch hits. The rest of spring training would have given us a clearer idea of who had the edge, but we can’t know for sure what Girardi would have done in his first game managing this team.

Here’s my best stab at the lineup the Phils would have fielded today:

  1. C J.T. Realmuto
  2. 3B Jean Segura
  3. RF Bryce Harper
  4. 1B Rhys Hoskins
  5. SS Didi Gregorius
  6. LF Jay Bruce
  7. 2B Scott Kingery
  8. CF Adam Haseley
  9. P Aaron Nola

With Haseley in the lineup, you have to double up the lefties somewhere, and I think that Girardi would prefer Gregorius/Bruce over Bruce/Haseley, which is why I had Kingery in the #7 spot instead of at #6. If I had my druthers, I’d bat Kingery leadoff honestly. But as I said, it sure looked like Girardi was leaning toward Realmuto for that assignment, so I went with it. Also, who says “druthers”?

Anyway, I’m really missing baseball today, and that feeling will only deepen until we get some idea of when the season will finally start. I’ll miss seeing guys like Gregorius and Zack Wheeler play their first games as Phils, and I’ll miss hearing the idiots call WIP and saying they should trade Harper after he went 0 for 4 today.

We need baseball back. It’s important. No less than James Earl Jones has told us as much. Until that time, I personally will be stuck in the mindset of wondering how the Phillies would have done on a given day based on the schedule I’ve been looking at for months.

Next: Time to roll with Spencer Howard

Then again, maybe they would have continued their losing ways against the Marlins and dashed all of our hopes immediately. So…maybe it’s a good thing they’re not playing today.

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