Phillies to host most American League East opponents in 2021

Giancarlo Stanton #27 of the New York Yankees (Photo by Miles Kennedy/Philadelphia Phillies/Getty Images)
Giancarlo Stanton #27 of the New York Yankees (Photo by Miles Kennedy/Philadelphia Phillies/Getty Images) /

The Phillies will host most AL East opponents in the 2021 season

While a 2020 season is still in the air, Major League Baseball is already making preparations for 2021. In an email sent to season ticket holders on Wednesday, the Philadelphia Phillies unveiled that the club will host most American League East opponents in the 2021 season.

“The 2021 schedule will be forthcoming at a later date, but we do know interleague play will bring the American League East to Citizens Bank Park,” the email read, “with matchups against the Yankees, Red Sox, Orioles and Rays.”

The Phillies’ email, which discussed refunding tickets for games originally scheduled for June 2020 and all games thereafter being credited towards a 2021 renewal, did not mention the club hosting the Toronto Blue Jays.

Since 2013, each MLB club has played 20 interleague games spanning eight series throughout the season. And, since at least four American League East clubs will play at Citizens Bank Park in 2021, it would be assumed the Phillies would play as many interleague series on the road.

Thus, MLB appears to be focusing on having a regional-based schedule for 2021, as well as in their rumored negotiations for a 2020 season. This would all be to help minimize travel during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is not known which other teams the Phillies would play in addition to those in the American and National League East, assuming MLB returns to its normal 162-game slate.

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It is believed that a universal designated hitter would be implemented this year, if games are played, and could be agreed upon for 2021 as well. The collective bargaining agreement is set to expire following next season, where the DH could be universally adopted on a permanent basis.

Therefore, long gone would be the Phillies’ advantage of facing American League pitchers at the plate at home. At the same time, they would need to determine who would be their full-time designated hitter.

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The Phillies were originally slated to play the American League West in 2020 interleague action, hosting the Texas Rangers (April 21-22), Oakland A’s (June 12-14), and Los Angeles Angels (July 17-19). On the road, manager Joe Girardi‘s squad would have faced the Seattle Mariners (July 3-5), Houston Astros (July 7-9) and Rangers once more (Aug. 11-12).