Phillies

Game 1 of Phillies-Nationals doubleheader has one of the smallest crowds you'll ever see

Game 1 of Phillies-Nationals doubleheader has one of the smallest crowds you'll ever see

You never know what you're gonna see at the ol' ballyard.

On Monday, there were multiple flamethrowers in the infield.

On Tuesday, there were ... multiple fans in attendance.

The crowd for Game 1 of the Phillies-Nationals doubleheader is the smallest in memory at Citizens Bank Park. There were approximately 500 fans in their seats at first pitch. It was so quiet that you could hear most individual fans' encouragement or criticism.

Have a look.

The Phillies had 39 players, including 20 pitchers, active for the doubleheader. So there were nearly 10 percent as many people in the Phillies' dugout and bullpen as there were in the stands when Nick Pivetta took the hill.

Even though few were there to see it as the doubleheader began, this is a hugely important day for the Phillies. Because of the doubleheader, the Phils can make up more ground on the Braves Tuesday than any day the rest of the season. They entered the day a season-high five games back in the NL East.

The Phillies have split all three doubleheaders they've had this season. All were against inferior teams in the Mets, Mets and Padres.

This is the first time since 2011 the Phillies have played four doubleheaders in a season and the first time since 2006 they've had three doubleheaders after the All-Star break.

More on the Phillies

At the Yard podcast: Zeroing in on Joe Girardi, free agency, 2020 outfield

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NBCSP

At the Yard podcast: Zeroing in on Joe Girardi, free agency, 2020 outfield

The Phillies shouldn't let Joe Girardi leave town early this week. Jim Salisbury and Corey Seidman discuss the Phillies' second round of interviews and more on the latest At the Yard podcast.

• Joe Girard back in Philly Monday and Phillies shouldn't let him leave.

• How much competition do the Mets present for Girardi? Are they prioritizing someone else?/

• Ways Girardi could make his imprint on the 2020 Phillies.

• Do Phillies have an identity crisis?

• Will draft pick compensation affect Phillies' free-agent plans?

• Outfield plans for 2020.

• Corey Dickerson's future.

• Where Jim thinks Gerrit Cole will land. 

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Phillies looking toward the Bronx in future-shaping week

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AP Images

Phillies looking toward the Bronx in future-shaping week

Phillies officials begin an important work week Monday, one that will have a significant impact on the team's future.

On Monday, the club will host Joe Girardi at Citizens Bank Park in a second interview for the team's open manager's job.

Girardi met with team officials last Monday in the New York metropolitan area. He is the third candidate to receive a second interview for the position. Dusty Baker and Buck Showalter visited Philadelphia for second interviews on Thursday and Friday, respectively.

The Phillies have a narrow focus in their search for a new skipper; they are seeking someone with previous big-league managerial experience. Girardi, Showalter and Baker, with 53 combined years of big-league managing experience and seven manager of the year awards, are the only candidates for the position and it is possible the team could make a hire this week. Thursday could be a target for an announcement as the World Series pauses for an off day between Games 2 and 3.

The Phils could make another important announcement this week. Multiple sources around baseball say the Phils have completed their search for a new amateur scouting director and that Brian Barber is the guy they are locked in on. Barber is a highly regarded national scout for the New York Yankees. His hiring by the Phillies could be announced this week. Barber will replace Johnny Almaraz, who last month stepped down as the Phillies' director of amateur scouting.

Of course, Barber isn't the only man with Yankees roots in the Phillies' sights. Girardi won four World Series rings with the Yankees — three as a player and one as a manager — and is believed to be the Phillies' preferred candidate for manager. 

In addition to having a wealth of experience in running a game with his instincts and intuition, Girardi is well versed in the use of analytics in roster building and game management. Phillies ownership has committed millions to building an analytics department and the club is looking for a manager who can blend a traditional approach to running a game and a team with an approach that uses data and analytics. Girardi managed the Yankees from 2008 to 2017 and in that time the team became an analytics powerhouse.

Girardi is also a candidate for the New York Mets managerial opening. It is not clear if the Mets are prioritizing previous big-league managing experience like the Phillies are. The Mets have interviewed Girardi as well as a number of candidates who have not managed in the big leagues, such as Carlos Beltran and Eduardo Perez.

Subscribe and rate At The Yard:
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