Phillies could play the MLB postseason in a bubble
If the Phillies reach the postseason, they might not be able to play at home
If the Phillies are able to build a better bullpen and keep the offense going, they could end up playing in a postseason bubble.
Jeff Passan of ESPN is reporting the Major League Baseball, who abandoned the idea of playing in “bubbles” this year, is looking into holding the postseason in bubble hub cities.
The idea comes out after the Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals each had outbreaks and the Cleveland Indians sent two players home after they broke protocol and left the team hotel.
The NHL and NBA adopted the bubble strategy for their respective restarts, though they brought a limited number of teams in. Baseball would have struggled to accommodate 32 large rosters, coaching staffs, and support staffs for a 60-game season, but a postseason bubble would make total sense.
So far in the NBA’s Disney bubble and the NHL’s two hub city bubbles, there have been no cases of COVID-19 over the course of several weeks.
Baseball could opt to have two cities or regions as its postseason hubs, potentially using Arizona, California, or New York based on the number of ballparks in the area. New York has managed COVID-19 after an early outbreak and has two professional stadiums plus Sahlen Field in Buffalo where the Blue Jays are playing this year.
California, where the virus is more rampant, has four professional stadiums plus several college campuses such as UCLA where players could be brought to the field and quarantined at a hotel.
It was already unlikely that fans would be in attendance for the postseason, so while it would be disappointing to not see a postseason game played at Citizens Bank Park, it would, on TV, almost feel like a regular game watching from home.
After Monday night’s win over Atlanta the Phillies moved to third place with a 5-6 record, two and a half games behind the Marlins based on winning percentage. The rotation has seemed to take care of itself with Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler holding down the fort while Zach Eflin and Jake Arrieta showed promise in their last starts.
Spencer Howard will likely take Vince Velasquez’ spot in the rotation, though the Phillies appear to be giving Velasquez at least one more shot at keeping his job.
The offense exploded on Monday night and looked like a playoff team, hitting five home runs and scoring 13 runs. Once again though, the bullpen fell apart and allowed seven runs in the ninth before a merciful third out was recorded by Trevor Kelley.
Philadelphia will have to fix their bullpen issues if they are to reach the playoffs, but if the rotation can hold its own hopefully there won’t be much need for an above average bullpen. They just need an average bullpen at this point.