Phillies’ Spring Training: What to Watch For in Opener

Phillies Spring Training
CLEARWATER, FL – FEBRUARY 16: The Phillies pitchers gather together and catch up with one with the palm trees in the background moments before the start of the Philadelphia Phillies spring training workout on February 16, 2019 at the Carpenter Complex in Clearwater, Florida. (Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire)

Ah, Phillies’ baseball is back! Today, there will be a baseball game- and fans will be there! Today at 1 PM, the Phillies will open up their Spring Training opener. The team will head to Lakeland, Florida, and take Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium. First Pitch is slated for 1:05 in the sunshine state.

What to Watch For

Phillies’ Starting Lineup:

Per the Phillies Twitter, the Phillies will be putting out quite the interesting starting nine for the opener:

Here, we do see a couple of guys who could be routine starters this season. Scott Kingery, after a downhill season because of his battle with COVID-19, will look to start the season off as hot as the Florida weather. Adam Haseley will be battling for a starting spot in centerfield, likely with Scott Kingery and Roman Quinn. Alec Bohm, the team’s bonafide third baseman, looks to avoid a sophomore slump this season.

Mickey Moniak is unlikely to crack consistent playing time this season, but seeing him get some work early in the season is relieving. New starting pitcher Ivan Nova will get the nod to kick off the preseason. Nova, the former New York Yankee, was brought in to eat some innings due to the impending added doubleheaders this season.

The Phillies’ Bullpen

Last season, this team’s bullpen was putrid. In historic fashion, the Phillies set of relievers were on the wrong side of some MLB and franchise records. During the offseason, though, new front office member Dave Dombrowski worked with Joe Girardi to turn that around.

With all of the new additions, the Phillies bullpen should save and/or win them some games this year instead of blow seven run leads. Most notably, their bullpen should look something like this:

New members Archie Bradley, Brandon Kintzler, and Sam Coonrod should all contribute this season. Philadelphia veterans Hector Neris and Jose Alvarado (if fully healthy) are locks to make the relief squad. Connor Brogdon, a 2020 late-season revelation, probably is too. Hector Rondon will seek a spot as well, despite his minor league deal. Homegrowns JoJo Romero and Ranger Suarez will continue their successful track record (for the most part) as well.

It’s only Spring Training, but it will be interesting to see how Joe Girardi gets some of these guys work. With so many minor league deals, and the influx of veteran, inning eating, starters they brought in, Girardi should have much more fun managing this group than last years.

Fans in the Stands

Most notably, there will be fans in the stands. There isn’t much to say here, but this is a trend that should continue with the regular season too. To start the season, there will be about 2,500 fans allowed at Citizens Bank Park, pending any changes.

Let’s not screw this up, Phillies’ fans. While at any Spring Training or MLB park, let’s mask up, socially distance. Let’s ensure that if there is some October baseball this season, then we can have 40,000+ screaming fans and soak in some competitive Phillies’ baseball again.

Photo Credit: Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire