Phillies resume play tonight against the Yankees

Phillies face the Yankees after a long layoff
After seven postponements and a week of concern, the Phillies will finally take the field on Monday night to open a series in the Bronx with the Yankees.

Oh, did we mention a tropical system is barreling up the coast?

Tonight's game should be in the clear, but tomorrow's contest may parlay itself into a doubleheader on Wednesday.

Jake Arrieta will start tonight's opener for the Phillies. It'll be his first start since August 11, 2019, in San Francisco as he underwent surgery soon thereafter to remove a bone spur in his throwing elbow.

"It feels great to finally have a start lined up," Arrieta said. "It's been frustrating, but at the same time, I haven't been dwelling on that too much because we are all in a really tough situation having to deal with so many different factors that have kind of derailed the beginning of our season. We knew these were going to be tough times and we're doing the best we can to stay ready.

"I've thrown in a few (simulated) games, I've thrown a bunch of bullpens, extended bullpens to keep the pitch count pretty high. But it's really tough to do unless you're in real-game situations. But I'm in a good spot. I'm going to be able to give my team what we need. I'm really looking forward to getting into a real game finally.

"Physically, I feel pretty close to midseason form as far as the body. There's really no aches and pains, which is something you're accustomed to near midseason. So the body feels pretty fresh, and the feel of all my stuff is there."

Opposing Arrieta and the Phils tonight is Gerrit Cole, the new Yankees ace who inked a nine-year, $324 million contract in December. He's won both of his starts this season and enters Monday sporting a 3.09 ERA and 0.69 WHIP.

The Phillies face the near-impossible task of playing 57 games in 56 days. There's also the possibility of future scheduling issues should things get more complicated with COVID-19. Major League Baseball had to postpone more than 30 games last week due to COVID-19 related issues.

"These are weird times as you know," Arrieta said. "Other teams have been able to play more games than us and haven't been affected schedule-wise as much as we have, but we're not going to complain about it. We can't make any excuses.

"It would seem that we are at a disadvantage, not being able to play pretty much every day like we're accustomed to. But if you lean too much on that, it could creep into your mind too heavily and could most certainly affect your performance."

Tonight's lineup
McCutchen 7
Hoskins 3
Harper 9
Realmuto 2
Gregorius 6
Segura 5
Bruce DH
Kingery 4
Haseley 8

Good results
The Phillies announced on Monday there were no new positive results following daily COVID-19 testing. Manager Joe Girardi and general manager Matt Klentak each mentioned last week that the club plans to continue daily testing for the foreseeable future. The two positive cases that were reported last week regarding a coach and a home clubhouse attendant were false-positives, meaning the only employee that has seemingly contracted COVID-19 from the series with the Marlins is a visiting clubhouse attendant.

Weather update
With a tropical system moving up the coast, it's likely Tuesday's contest will be postponed. Given the scheduling issues already impacting MLB and the fact this is a home-and-home series, it's entirely possible that the Yanks and Phils play a doubleheader on Wednesday at Citizens Bank Park with New York as the home team for Game 1.

Pitching matchups
Today: RHP Jake Arrieta (0-0, 0.00) vs. RHP Gerrit Cole (2-0, 3.09)
Arrieta will make his 2020 debut and says he feels good coming off surgery last year to remove a bone spur in his throwing elbow. Cole, meanwhile, has been dominant for the Yanks through his first two starts. Tonight will make his home debut at Yankee Stadium.

Tuesday: RHP Aaron Nola (0-1, 6.75) vs. LHP J.A. Happ (0-0, 9.00)
Wednesday: TBA vs. LHP Jordan Montgomery (1-0, 1.59)
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BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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