Philadelphia Phillies: 5 bold predictions for 2021 season

Bryce Harper #3 and Alec Bohm #28 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Bryce Harper #3 and Alec Bohm #28 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images) /
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Manager Joe Girardi #25 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

4. The Phillies will have a winning record.

While the Phillies having a winning record shouldn’t be a bold prediction, the fact that they’ve come up short the past few seasons, with the players they’ve had, shows that this is not a certainty. In 2018, the team entered the month of September at 10 games above .500 and saw that margin shrink to five games entering a four-game series at the Atlanta Braves.

A nine-game losing streak between the Braves and Colorado Rockies sealed their fate, with two wins against the Braves not enough to get them back to even, ending the season with an 80-82 record. The next year saw a similar story, with a 78-72 record, before they lost nine of their last 12 games. They entered their finale at a game above .500 before losing at home to the Miami Marlins, ending their season at 81-81.

With the addition of Zack Wheeler and Didi Gregorius to a roster already boasting names like Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto, and Aaron Nola, it didn’t seem possible that the Phillies would fail to have a winning record in a shortened 2020 season. With a 27-25 record and about a week to go, the team lost seven of their last eight games to solidify another losing year, with a 28-32 record.

The last time the Phillies had a winning season was 2011, when they finished the year at 102-60. But, there’s reason to believe that trend will change. The National League East is emerging as one of the more challenging divisions. With 40 of 60 games against division rivals this year, the odds were stacked against them.

The league hopes to have a full season, with the usual mix of games, which could help the Phillies with their strength of schedule. Interleague play will still feature the NL East against the AL East, but some of the weaker National League opponents should help.

While the Phillies have a roster that should be capable of a winning record, that hasn’t been the case. The team is overdue for a finish above .500 and a broader schedule could help them get there.