PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — After a four-month drought because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Philadelphia Phillies kick off their season Friday night. But, post-pandemic baseball will look a lot different than we are used to.
— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) July 24, 2020
CBS3 broke down what will be different this season:
Shortened seasonREAD MORE: Four Children Among Five Killed In Pottstown Home Explosion, Police Say
The MLB decided to scratch the 162-game season for a 60-game regular season due to the coronavirus — and the season starting at the end of July. Clubs will play 40 divisional games and 20 interleague games against the corresponding geographical division.
There will be no fans in the stadium during the 2020 MLB season, taking part of the emotion out of the game. The atmosphere will be different for both players and fans. Will players get hyped up after a big play to engage fans at home? Professional athletes, especially Philadelphia’s, live for the authenticity that the fans bring to the stadium. From stadium shaking cheers during a 9th inning rally, to hardcore boos when the team isn’t playing their best — MLB games without fans is going to change the game.
The National League will use a designated hitter
For the first time ever, the National League will use a designated hitter for the pitcher. The designated hitter has only been used by the American League since it was introduced in 1973.
Some players may wear masks
Player safety was a big concern as the MLB Player’s Association and the league negotiated the start of the 2020 season in the middle of a health pandemic. How can you ensure that players will be safe? While the two groups came to an agreement and the league began its season on Thursday afternoon, you may see some players wearing masks for extra precaution.
In an effort to stop the spread of germs spitting will no longer be allowed. Pitchers are also no longer allowed to lick their finger in order to get a better grip on the ball. Pitchers will carry a small wet towel in their back pocket to help with gripping the ball.
Teams will start with a batter on second base during extra innings
It may sound a bit little league-ish to many people, but you’ve seen how long MLB extra innings can go. The MLB is trying to stop games from going into an extended number of extra innings. They hope adding a runner on second base during extra innings will help offenses score quicker to end the game.
While the coronavirus caused the MLB to make changes to the league’s rules, there will also be some changes within the Phillies club this season.
Welcome, Manager Joe GirardiREAD MORE: Beach Erosion Will Keep One-Third Of North Wildwood Beaches Closed Memorial Day Weekend
The Phillies brought in former Yankees skipper Joe Girardi in the offseason after firing Gabe Kapler. In 10 seasons as New York’s manager, Girardi won 910 regular-season games and held a 28-24 record in the postseason. He also managed the Yankees to their 2009 World Series championship over the Phils. In 2009, Girardi won NL Manager of the Year with the Florida Marlins but was fired after just one season.
Girardi’s managing style is a 180 turn-around from the player-friendly Gabe Kapler. Girardi is an earn your spot kind of guy. He’s known for his structure and discipline and the intensity that comes along with it.
Could a structured managing style be what the team needs in order to make their first postseason appearance since 2011?
Two No. 1 pitchers in rotation
When Girardi was hired last October one thing was clear, the Phillies needed to strengthen their pitching rotation — and that’s exactly what Girardi and GM Matt Klentak did. The Phillies went out and secured two No. 1 pitchers. The Phillies signed right-hander Zach Wheller to a five-year deal last December. The former New York Met went 11-8 with a 3.96 ERA in 27 starts last season, according to CBSSports.com. He was considered one of the top second-tier starters on the market last year.
The Phils also signed Ace Aaron Nola to a four-year contract extension in February. Nola went 12-7 in 34 games with a 3.87 ERA in 2019.
Girardi has said the two will be co-aces.
Bringing in a shortstop
The Phillies crossed another need off their list last December when they signed free-agent shortstop Didi Gregorius to a one-year deal. Gregorius didn’t have his best season last year after coming off Tommy John surgery. He averaged .238, with 77 hits, 16 home runs and 61 RBIs in 324 appearances at the plate. He was open to taking a one-year deal with the Phils in order to reestablish his free-agent market value.MORE NEWS: CBS3 SummerFest: 2 St. Joe's Grads Bringing New Tiki Cruise Experience For Adults To Wildwood
And his relationship with Skipper Joe Girardi is an added bonus.