Despite concerns that a 60-game schedule combined with significant playoff expansion would lead to a fluky postseason, both 1-seeds represent their leagues in the 2020 World Series, which begins tonight at 8 p.m. on Fox.
The Tampa Bay Rays are back for the first time since 2008, when the Phillies beat them in five games. Weather was a huge subplot of that Fall Classic. It won't be this year with the World Series taking place at Arlington, Texas' Globe Life Field, which has a retractable roof.
A dozen years later, there are only four players still active from that 2008 World Series, albeit with caveats.
- Cole Hamels, who made just one start in 2020 because of arm problems, is one.
- David Price, who opted out of the season amid COVID concerns, is another.
- J.A. Happ, who pitched three innings in the '08 NLCS but did not appear in the World Series, is still active.
- And Evan Longoria, the 2008 AL Rookie of the Year who went 1 for 20 with nine strikeouts against the Phillies, is the only position player still active.
Well-traveled Edwin Jackson, who has played for 14 teams including the 2008 Rays, did sign with the D-backs in February but was released in May.
Then-Rays manager Joe Maddon now skippers the Angels after nine years with Tampa and five with the Cubs.
Then-Rays bench coach Dave Martinez managed the Nationals to a championship a year ago.
Then-Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey was hired Monday as the Nats' pitching coach.
The only former Phillie on either 2020 team's World Series roster is Rays starting pitcher Charlie Morton, who is looking for his second ring. In his last five postseason starts, Morton is 5-0 with a 0.70 ERA.
Rays reliever John Curtiss made nine appearances for the Phillies' Triple A Lehigh Valley IronPigs in 2019 and had a 10.95 ERA. He had a 1.80 ERA in 25 innings for Tampa in the regular season.