By Matt Rappa, Sports Talk Philly editor
After blowing a five-run lead to the Atlanta Braves (1-0) on Opening Day, Gabe Kapler and the Philadelphia Phillies (0-1) will look to rebound behind RHP Nick Pivetta Friday evening at SunTrust Park. Pivetta will oppose five-year veteran RHP Mike Foltynewicz.
Phillies No. 2. Scott Kingery prospect will make his first big league start, batting sixth as the third baseman in lieu of Maikel Franco. Starting for the Braves at the hot corner is Ryan Flaherty, who appeared this spring with the Phillies as a non-roster invitee. Catcher Andrew Knapp will make his second start for the Phillies in as many games, instead of No. 7 prospect Jorge Alfaro.
Left fielder Rhys Hoskins provided the Phillies an early 1-0 lead in Thursday's season opener with a two-out RBI double in the first. The score remained the same until the the sixth: second baseman Cesar Hernandez went yard — his second straight home run on Opening Day — Franco walked with the bases loaded and Knapp hit a RBI single. Kapler pulled starter RHP Aaron Nola despite logging 6 1/3 shutout innings on 68 pitches (48 strikes), and the club's 5-0 lead soon evaporated after. In relief, LHP Hoby Milner allowed his inherited runner to score, along with another, while LHP Adam Morgan and RHP Hector Neris allowed two and three earned runs, respectively.
Friday will be a rare, next-day game following Opening Day, as there is usually a built-in rain date on day No. 2 of the regular season for teams to avoid a doubleheader at the onset of the season. The Braves opted instead to have the off-day on Easter Sunday, noted the Phillies radio broadcast. Ten other games (20 teams) will also take place on Friday.
The Phillies have lost five of their last six games against the Braves dating back to August 30th's doubleheader last season. The Phillies are 5-5 all-time at SunTrust Park.
Starting Pitching Matchup:
|Philadelphia Phillies (0-1)
||Atlanta Braves (1-0)
|(2017: 8-10, 6.02 ERA)
||(2017: 10-13, 4.79 ERA)