Weather and safety concerns are causing the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies to struggle in an attempt to play four games against each other.
Facing time constraints in a 60-game season, the Yankees and Phillies will play a unique doubleheader Wednesday in Philadelphia.
Neither team confirmed their exact pitching plans, but New York is expected to start J.A. Happ for one of the games while Philadelphia is expected to start Aaron Nola. The next starters in the respective rotations are New York’s Jordan Montgomery and Philadelphia’s Zack Wheeler.
It will be the first seven-inning doubleheader under the new rules designed to finish games more quickly. The Yankees will be the home team in the opener after Tuesday’s originally scheduled game at Yankee Stadium was postponed Monday afternoon due to heavy rains pelting New York.
When the doubleheader gets underway, it will be after five postponements. The teams were originally slated to play a four-game home-and-home series last week but it was postponed after numerous members of the Miami Marlins tested positive for coronavirus after playing their season-opening series in Philadelphia.
“Hey, it’s 2020 and playing in this environment, so we have to be able to adapt to it,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “I feel like we will be able to, but it obviously creates some challenges. The seven-inning doubleheader situation makes things a bit more manageable. We have all the people in there to kind of get through it and we will embrace the challenge of it all.”
The Yankees will be the home team in a road ballpark for the first time since getting a 6-3 win over the Los Angeles Angels on April 15, 1998 at Shea Stadium when a beam fell into the seating area at Yankee Stadium.
After the postponements, the Yankees were able to quickly resume playing while the Phillies were unable to play until Monday when New York hit three homers in a 6-3 win at Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees will take a seven-game winning streak into the doubleheader and their 8-1 start is their best since the 2003 season. DJ LeMahieu, Brett Gardner and Gio Urshela homered, giving the Yankees 20 and matching their highest total through nine games in team history.
Because of the postponements, the Phillies started a stretch of playing 57 games in 56 days Monday. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last team to play 57 games in 56 days was the 1998 Yankees, and Philadelphia last did it during the 1983 season.
Besides having games with the Yankees postponed, the Phillies had a weekend series with the Toronto Blue Jays postponed and experienced a 67-minute rain delay Monday before taking a bus back to Philadelphia.
“I think someone on this call could write a pretty good book with some of the stuff we’ve had to face this year,” Phillies manager Joe Girardi said. “You get a rain delay tonight. It’s been a strange year, but I really believe our players have adapted to it pretty well. If they continue to do that, good things are going to happen.”
Girardi is hoping some good things start to happen to his hitters and relievers. The Phillies are hitting .239 and their relievers are pitching to a 6.75 ERA (11 earned runs, 14 2/3 innings) so far.
Happ will be pitching for the first time since allowing four runs on four hits in four innings of Thursday’s 8-6 win at Baltimore while Montgomery will be pitching after allowing one run in 5 2/3 innings in a 5-1 win over Boston on Friday.
Happ is 5-0 with a 1.45 ERA in five career starts against the Phillies while Montgomery has never faced Philadelphia.
Nola is pitching for the first time since July 24 when he allowed four runs on five hits in 5 1/3 innings in a 5-2 loss to Miami.
While Nola has never faced the Yankees, Zack Wheeler is 0-1 with a 7.04 ERA in three career starts against New York and is pitching for the first time since allowing one run in seven innings on July 25 against the Marlins.
–Field Level Media