3 Phillies preseason predictions that were shockingly accurate

Sep 17, 2021; New York City, New York, USA; Philadelphia Phillies right fielder Bryce Harper (3) watches from the dugout during the third inning against the New York Mets at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 17, 2021; New York City, New York, USA; Philadelphia Phillies right fielder Bryce Harper (3) watches from the dugout during the third inning against the New York Mets at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /
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Phillies Aaron Nola
Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports /

FALSE: The Phillies would finish under .500, but their bullpen would be better and Aaron Nola would be the ace

Ahead of Opening Day 2021, ESPN wrote that the Phillies would finish with a 76-86 record; they finished 82-80. They hadn’t been above .500 since 2011, and had only been at .500 a handful of times. They ended that streak by eking out one more win.

As for best-case scenario, they predicted that the Phillies’ “horror-show 2020 bullpen” would be watchable “without a blindfold in 2021.” Wrong! It was worse!

They also were 100% accurate about Girardi having to “churn through five different closers,” as Hector Neris, Jose Alvarado, Ranger Suárez, Ian Kennedy, and Archie Bradley each took turns, to name just a few.

The best-case scenario also included the rotation finding a “quality third wheel” behind Wheeler and Aaron Nola. Instead, Nola (and most of the pitching staff) had a terrible season while Ranger Suárez moved back to the rotation for the first time since 2018 and was incredible. You win some, you lose some.

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