Every day seems to bring about a new set of questions or concerns relative to Major League Baseball's attempt to pull off a season in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. It is folly to think we know with certainty where any of this is going. But we do know a schedule was released for the 60-game season Monday night.
Here's a look at five key series from a Phillies perspective.
July 24-26 vs. Marlins
The Phillies were originally slated to start their season in Miami with a series against the Marlins in late March. In the shortened season, the Phils will now host the Fish in the first 3-game set of the 60-game slate. This series will mark Joe Girardi's debut as Phillies manager and will also be pivotal as the club looks to start on a positive note against an inferior opponent that has given them fits in recent years.
July 27-28 vs. Yankees
Any series against the Yankees is noteworthy. They are one of the signature brands in sports across the globe. The Bronx Bombers are also on the short list of top contenders to win the World Series thanks to the arrival of Gerritt Cole to be their ace. Oh yeah, this will also mark Girardi's first series against the club he played for and managed for 10 seasons before parting ways after the 2017 season. Plenty of intrigue to go around there. The clubs will meet the following two nights at Yankee Stadium.
Aug. 18-19 at Red Sox
One of the joys of the game is seeing it played in its grand old cathedrals. The Phillies will not make their customary trip to Wrigley Field this season due to the regionalized nature of the reworked schedule. But they will visit Fenway Park for a pair of games. It might not feel the same if fans, as expected, are not in attendance. That being said, there's something about that Green Monster in left that screams baseball goodness.
Aug. 25-27 at Nationals
No fans means no boo birds for Bryce Harper when he returns to his old D.C. stomping grounds again this season. But he will be returning to face a Nationals team that captured a World Series title in their first season without the one-time face of the franchise. The Nats have lost Anthony Rendon, but still sport arguably the best hitter in the National League in Juan Soto and a star-studded rotation. A playoff spot in the NL still goes through the Nationals.
Sept. 25-27 at Rays
Perhaps it's fitting that in a season that will be devoid of ambiance unlike any in baseball history, the Philies will finish up their campaign at Tropicana Field for a 3-game series with the Rays. Imagine a playoff spot coming down to a ball hitting the catwalk. That would be an ending befitting 2020.
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MLB 2020 schedule release: 5 key series to watch in Phillies' season originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia