Looking ahead to the now-agreed 2020 season
Bowa hopes that now a 2020 season is slated to begin in less than one month, that hopefully it can “ease the pain a little bit.”
The new season will be unlike nothing baseball fans have ever seen before. A 102-game decrease from the usual 162 games, the universal designated hitter, empty stands in the ballpark, you name it.
For Bowa, 60 games are “better than nothing.”
“This is going to be strange, though. It’s going to be a sprint rather than a long race,” he says. “We’ll see how it plays out. Spring training starts [soon] … so, that’s going to be about three weeks, and we’ll see how it plays out.”
Strength of bullpen will be key
Bowa says that teams that have the best bullpens this coming season will make the playoffs, as games will be “bullpen games” with starting pitchers not being fully extended out.
“The team that has the best bullpen and can stay away from injuries or the virus, if you can keep guys off that, then they have a good chance of winning,” Bowa says. “I look at bullpen strength and I think whoever has the best bullpens right now would have a good chance getting in the playoffs.”
For the Phillies, Hector Neris will likely be featured as the closer again, complemented by southpaws Jose Alvarez and Adam Morgan, as well as right-handers Victor Arano and Tommy Hunter, among others. Also, starting pitchers who lose out on the competition for the fifth starting rotation spot will likely still make the team as a long reliever role.
“Starting pitchers, less face it. It doesn’t matter how much they’ve been throwing since the end of spring training [in March],” Bowa says. “When you get a hitter in that batter’s box, the adrenaline is different and the umpire back there.”
“You got to hope guys don’t try to overdo it and throw too hard real early. I don’t think they’re going to go deep in games early.”
Unlike starting pitchers, Bowa thinks hitters will have no problem to get ready in the three weeks of “spring training 2” that lead up to Opening Day on July 24.