With Opening Day upon us, it is time for the final iteration of our 2020 shortened season simulation. Using OutOfThePark Baseball 21, we’ve watched the Phillies go from a team struggling at the start of the season to winning the NL East. Last time, we witnessed the Phillies defeat the Cinncinatti Reds to claim the National League Pennant, advancing to the World Series for the first time since 2009.
The Phillies defeated the St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds to get to the World Series. Their opponent, the Minnesota Twins, fought through a tiebreaker game, the New York Yankees, and the Houston Astros.
Rather than beating around the bush, let’s cut to the chase. The Twins swept the Phillies in this simulation. In fact, it wasn’t even close. In four games, the Twins outscored the Phillies 36-16.
|Game||Final Score||Starting Pitcher||IP||Runs Against|
|4||8-6||Jake Arrieta||2.0||0 (injured)|
The Phillies were simply outclassed offensively by an offense that blew through some of the best pitching in the league in New York and Houston.
But, given that today is Opening Day and is a happy occasion, let’s not end this simulation on a low note! Here are three takeaways from this simulation to look forward to in the actual 2020 season:
Cutch is Clutch
In our simulation, Andrew McCutchen led the team with 19 regular-season home runs over the 60-game season. McCutchen was on fire in 2019 before his untimely injury, but this simulation proves that his streak was not a fluke. Even at the age of 33, Cutch has proven that he still has MVP potential within him. Not to mention, he and his Uncle Larry have taken the internet by storm!
2019 Segura Was a Fluke
Phillies fans are not shy when it comes to their disappointment in Jean Segura last year. A perennial .300 hitter, Segura was brought in to be an impact player. While he showed moments of that in 2019, he regressed into a .280 hitter, which is respectable, but not .300.
After an extended offseason/COVID-19 break, Segura came to Summer Camp in the best condition of his life. Segura certainly showed up in our simulation, hitting for a league-leading .353 batting average. While I would not expect that from him this year, it would be safe to say I expect him to return to a .300 average this year, regardless if he is batting 2nd or 7th.
Spencer Howard is Legit
Due to the nature of our simulation, Spencer Howard did not make his MLB debut until August 31st. We should expect to see him a LOT SOONER than that. In his six regular season appearances in our simulation, Howard pitched 40 innings while allowing five earned runs. The rookie was nothing short of sensational and was a pitching cornerstone in the postseason.
Given the nature of the current CBA, the Phillies will wait to call up Spencer Howard and Alec Bohm until the team is at least five games into the season so that they can retain them for another year of service team. But as Bryce Harper said while playing Fortnite on Twitch: “If Spencer Howard isn’t in our starting rotation by Game 6 in New York against the Yankees, there’s a problem.” Harper has spoken. Howard could become a “Big Piece” of the Phillies’ success this season, the team just needs to give him the chance.
While not winning the World Series in our simulation is disappointing, the results are not necessarily the point, but rather the journey. Especially now that the MLB has expanded the postseason this year, essentially rendering this entire series null and void. What this simulation has demonstrated is that this Phillies team can compete this season. While a lot of things need to go right, a 39-win season is within the realm of possibilities. Like some have said, “The future is what we make of it.” Now it’s up to the Phillies to make the 2020 season a successful one.
Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports