Phillies: 4 Lineups Girardi should consider to open the season

Opening Day is about three weeks away and excitement is slowly building.

The 2020 Phillies roster is improved from last season, and offense figures to be this team’s biggest strength. When you consider a handful of factors—universal-DH, Kingery’s versatility, Alec Bohm potentially pushing for ABs—you see that Joe Girardi has a handful of combinations to compose his starting-9 each day.

When setting the Phillies batting order the biggest question for me is the two hole. They can go in a few directions here (Segura, Rhys, Didi, Kingery, even JT or Bryce) but it’s up to Girardi to find the ideal candidate. Whoever mans this spot in the lineup would hit behind McCutchen and be protected by Harper—that’s as good as it gets.

While the everyday DH could swing in a couple directions, you’ll see most of these lineups with Jay Bruce, who should get the early crack at most of those at-bats. The only other position somewhat up in the air is CF, though I don’t think it’s much of a debate; Haseley will get the everyday reps against righties, with Kingery or Quinn platooning against lefties. Though I’ll admit that all could change fast in a 60 game sprint.

Here are four lineups I think would make sense for the Phillies to open the season.


“Rhys in the two-hole”

  1. McCutchen LF
  2. Hoskins 1B
  3. Harper RF
  4. Realmuto C
  5. Gregorius SS
  6. Segura 3B
  7. Bruce DH
  8. Kingery 2B
  9. Haseley CF

This might actually be my preferred lineup. Something about protecting Rhys with Bryce is too appealing to pass up, and it pairs the three highest OBP guys atop the order as well. The Phillies ought to do whatever they can to get 2017-18 Hoskins instead of the 2019 version, and this feels like a good way for Girardi to help make that happen.

JT’s contact and pop to all fields is the perfect bat to clean things up; and despite a “down” season in 2019, Didi‘s 16 HRs and 61 RBIs in just 344 PAs (well on pace for 100+ RBIs in a full season) makes him a strong candidate for the five hole. I was going to slot Segura there but I figured it’s best to split up the lefties 3-5-7-9—not because it splits them apart, but mostly so we don’t have three lefties in a four batter run.

Bruce is an impressive bat in the 7-spot, and I wouldn’t blame you if you wanted to swap him and Didi. I just like this arrangement because Didi-Segura-Bruce is your ideal “second” top-of-the-order, so to speak (i.e: in the second inning you’d rather have Didi and Segura on base with Bruce at the plate, as opposed to the inverse). And of course, Kingery-Haseley is the 8-9 punch that underscores how much better this lineup is compared to the past few seasons.


“Basic Lineup”

  1. McCutchen LF
  2. Segura 3B
  3. Harper RF
  4. Hoskins 1B
  5. Realmuto C
  6. Gregorius SS
  7. Bruce DH
  8. Kingery 2B
  9. Haseley CF

This is the most straightforward option. Phillies fans can expect Segura to preform more in line with his first half production (.447 slugging) as opposed to his second half drop off (.384 slugging). Bryce is chalk at 3—I can’t stomach the idea of your best hitter batting cleanup—and ideally Hoskins will thrive in between Harper and JT in the cleanup spot, though I think his leash ought to be short.

With Segura sliding up in the lineup I can no longer stagger the lefties on the backend (assuming Haseley is in CF) and from a lineup construction standpoint Didi’s combo of pop/base running just makes more sense ahead of Bruce. Again, Kingery/Haseley is a solid 8-9 punch.

One other perk of this lineup is with the new three-batter-minimum rule for pitchers, any lefty who comes in to face Harper will need to face two of McCutchen, Segura, Hoskins, or Realmuto—this arguably makes more sense than staggering lefties 3-5-7-9.


“Harper in the two-hole”

  1. McCutchen LF
  2. Harper RF
  3. Hoskins 1B
  4. Bruce DH
  5. Realmuto C
  6. Didi SS
  7. Kingery 2B
  8. Haseley CF
  9. Segura 3B

I’ve always been a proponent of having one of your top two bats in the two-hole. It makes too much sense from a lineup optimization standpoint, and with the DH coming to the NL the argument against a Harper-type hitting second no longer exists. He’s at the plate more frequently, and he’ll be hitting in equally as many high-leverage situations as he would in the three-hole, and a few more important situations than he would batting cleanup.

Joe Girardi had no problem slotting Aaron Judge in the two-hole in years past, and Harper’s presence on the base paths makes him an even more obvious candidate than a Judge type. In this iteration of my lineup I also pull Bruce up to the cleanup spot to provide more protection for Rhys than Didi likely would. While JT is the ideal 5-hole in this lineup I still prefer to stagger my lefties in the first six batters. Moving Harper and Bruce up in the order allows me to slide Segura down to the nine hole where he can act as the second lead-off hitter setting up the Cutch-Harper combo when they turn the lineup over. Though I’ll admit pushing a bat like Segura down to 9 might be getting a little too “cute.”


“Vs. Lefties”

  1. McCutchen LF
  2. Segura 3B
  3. Harper RF
  4. Hoskins 1B
  5. Realmuto C
  6. Gregorius SS
  7. Kingery 2B
  8. Bohm DH
  9. Quinn CF

Obviously all the lineups above could be platooned with Bohm in for Bruce and Quinn in for Haseley, or even Bohm for Haseley (with Kingery sliding to CF, Segura to 2B), but there’s no reason to ink Bohm into those lineups until Girardi does first. Still, it would be shocking if he didn’t see the occasional start against lefties.

The bigger question mark is Quinn. There are still people who pencil him in as the starting center fielder, and while I admire the optimism those fans have, I wouldn’t even consider mentioning Quinn until he a) proves he can stay healthy, and b) proves he can hit a baseball. Both seem like long shots at this point, but I’ll slot him here as the nine-hitter just because he was somewhat born for that role.

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