After layoff, Phils set for packed schedule

August 4th, 2020

The Phillies took five buses from Citizens Bank Park to Yankee Stadium on Monday, leaving shortly before noon ET, but only after they took COVID-19 saliva tests for an eighth consecutive day.

Phillies manager Joe Girardi said he expects daily tests to continue for at least two more days.

“We’re still in that every day range,” he said. “Probably makes you feel a little bit better in a sense. The fact that you know every day now, early in the morning.”

On Monday, the Phillies announced no new positive tests for a fourth consecutive day. Two positive tests they received on Thursday were later determined to be false positives. After Major League Baseball postponed seven consecutive Phillies games last week “out of an abundance of caution” following a series with the Marlins, the Phillies played the Yankees on Monday night.

The Phillies will now try to play 57 games in 56 days. No Phillies team has done that since the 1983 National League-champion “Wheeze Kids” (Aug. 4 to Sept. 28), according to the Elias Sports Bureau. No Major League team has done it since the 1998 World Series-champion Yankees (Aug. 3 to Sept. 27).

Girardi played on that Yankees team.

“The hardest thing is trying to keep players sharp,” Girardi said. “We’re really not going to know until we go through this. With all the rain coming [Tuesday], are we going to have another break? You want to try to get back to some normalcy, and normalcy in baseball is playing every day. This is an everyday sport. Not once a week. If we're in football, we'd be in good shape. But we're not.”

In a pandemic-free world, the Phillies probably would have taken two buses (one player, one staff) to their New York City hotel on Sunday night. The Phillies instead arrived at Yankee Stadium on Monday around 1:30 p.m. ET. They planned to check into their hotel after the game, but Tuesday night’s game has been postponed due to the prediction of heavy rain from Tropical Storm Isaias. The Phillies and Yankees are now scheduled to play a doubleheader on Wednesday at Citizens Bank Park. The Yankees will be the home team in Game 1, which will begin at 4:05 p.m. ET. The Phillies will be the home team in Game 2, which is set to begin 35 minutes after Game 1 ends.

Phillies first baseman is the team’s union rep. He said some players expressed concerns about returning to action with only the weekend to prepare (they were not allowed in the ballpark on Thursday and Friday), but “we’re here and we’re excited to get to compete again. We’ll make the best of the situation.”

Hoskins also said players discussed following the proper protocols on the road to avoid an outbreak like the Marlins.

“I think guys understand,” Girardi said. “Our guys have really bought into anything we've asked them to do. They know it's for their own health. It's for the health of this club and for us to continue we need to stay this way. There has been no pushback at any point since we came back in early July. Guys have just done what we've asked with really no questions asked.”

Hoskins said no player has discussed electing not to play.

“More just anxious to get back on the field and get back into a routine,” Hoskins said.