Phillies: Opening week a test for Girardi, Wheeler, Gregorius

Didi Gregorius #18 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Didi Gregorius #18 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
2 of 4
Joe Girardi, Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Opening week will also test the abilities of Phillies manager Joe Girardi

Opening week will also test Girardi’s abilities, given who the Phillies will be facing – a team that’s recently had their number and the team expected to be the best in the American League.

Despite the Phillies being the better team, the Marlins have had their number over the past two seasons.

In 2018, Philadelphia finished 16.5 games ahead of Miami in the NL East, before finishing 24 games better in 2019.

Despite the separation in their records, the two teams have been about even in head-to-head. The Phillies won 11 of 19 games in 2018, while the Marlins won 10 of 19 games last season.

Even with an improved roster in 2019, the Phillies lost a season-series to a division rival that had 24 fewer wins and had the third-worst record in the MLB.

Meanwhile, the Yankees enter 2020 following a season where they posted the third-best record in the majors (behind the Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers) and lost the ALCS to Houston in six games.

Now, the Yankees have top free agent Gerrit Cole, whose career began with the Pittsburgh Pirates and blossomed in recent years with the scandal-riddled Houston Astros. The Yankees are considered by many to be the top team in the American League and a top threat to win the World Series.

A team that’s had your number and a top American League contender will be tough to beat. But, in a shortened season where every game matters that much more, the opening week will be a test for the Phillies and their new skipper.