Nola, Phillies set for Opening Day matchup against Braves

By Matt Rappa, Sports Talk Philly editor

The Philadelphia Phillies will embark on their 136th season – and their first under their 54th manager Gabe Kapler – as they take on right-hander Julio Teheran and the Atlanta Braves Thursday afternoon at SunTrust Park.

Phillies right-hander Aaron Nola receives his first Opening Day starting nod of his now four-year big-league career. Teheran begins his eighth season and will make his fifth consecutive Opening Day start. The Braves have fallen in three of Teheran's four Opening Day appearances, outscored 13-5 and outhit 31-22. The Phillies, meanwhile, have split their last four season openers, outscored 27-20 while being slightly outhit, 38-36. Right-hander Jeremy Hellickson (2016-2017) and southpaws Cole Hamels (2015) and Cliff Lee (2014) were the Phillies starters in those contests.

The Phillies are 61-72-2 all-time on Opening Day. Last season, the club went 5-4 at SunTrust Park and 13-6 against the Braves overall. The Phillies have fallen in four of their last five meetings with the Braves, however, outscored 25-9.

Starting Pitching Matchup:

Philadelphia Phillies Atlanta Braves
RHP Aaron Nola RHP Julio Teheran
(2017: 12-11, 3.54 ERA) (2017: 11-13, 4.49 ERA)

RHP Aaron Nola, Age: 24

  • Career vs. ATL: 5-1, 1.96 ERA, 7 G, 7 GS, 46 IP, 41 H, 13 R, 10 ER, 3 HR, 10 BB, 37 SO, 1.109 WHIP
  • Career at SunTrust Park: 1-0, 1.13 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 8 IP, 5 H, R, ER, 0 HR, BB, 6 SO, 0.750 WHIP

Nola finished the 2017 season with a 2.49 ERA and 2-1 record in four starts, striking out 36 batters while allowing eight walks in 25 1/3 innings. The right-hander has yet to toss a complete game through 60 career starts.

The Baton Rouge, Louisiana native has performed well against the Braves, including his first and only career start at SunTrust Park thus far on June 6 of last season – tossing eighth innings of one-run baseball en route to the Phillies' 3-1 win.


RHP Julio Teheran, Age: 27

  • Career vs. PHI: 8-6, 3.38 ERA, 19 G, 18 GS, 117 IP, 106 H, 50 R, 44 ER, 10 HR, 25 BB, 96 SO, 1.120 WHIP 
  • Career at SunTrust Park: 3-10, 5.86 ERA, 17 G, 17 GS, 93 2/3 IP, 100 H, 67 R, 61 ER, 17 HR, 40 BB, 73 SO, 1.495 WHIP

The two-time All-Star has struggled thus far through 17 starts at SunTrust Park, losing 10 of his 13 decisions while posting a 5.86 ERA and 1.495 WHIP in 93 2/3 innings. Teheran fared much better in 70 appearances and 435 1/3 innings at Turner Field, going 24-16 with a 3.02 ERA and 1.093 WHIP.

Teheran ended 2017 on a sour note, allowing five runs (all earned) on eight hits, three walks and a home run in six innings against the Miami Marlins on Sept. 28. The Cartagena, Colombia native started in four games against the Phillies last season – July 28, August 8, August 30 and Sept. 23 – and went 1-2 with one no-decision.

Starting Lineups:

Philadelphia Phillies Atlanta Braves
  Position Player Bats   Position Player Bats
1 2B Cesar Hernandez S 1 CF Ender Inciarte L
2 1B Carlos Santana  S 2 2B Ozzie Albies S
3 RF Nick Williams  L 3 1B Freddie Freeman L
4 LF Rhys Hoskins R 4 RF Nick Markakis L
5 CF Aaron Altherr R 5 C Tyler Flowers R
6 SS J.P. Crawford L 6 LF Preston Tucker L
7 3B Maikel Franco R 7 SS Dansby Swanson  R
8 C Andrew Knapp S 8 3B Ryan Flaherty L
9 P Aaron Nola R 9 P Julio Teheran R

Broadcast Information:

  • First pitch: 4:10 p.m.
  • Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP

Game Notes:

  • SunTrust Park will open its doors for its second season as the Braves new home, following the club's 20-season stint at Turner Field from 1997-2016.
  • Ryan Flaherty, who appeared this spring with the Phillies as a non-roster invitee, will start at third for the Braves, batting eighth.
  • According to, there are 14 players on the Phillies’ Opening Day roster this season who were not on the initial
    25-man roster from just a year ago. This is the fourth straight season the club has met the standards for such feat (at least 13 new players).
    Opening Day roster were not on the initial 25-man roster the year before
  • The Phillies finished 2018 Grapefruit League spring action with a 13-17-3 record.
    • Among National League teams, the Phillies tied for sixth in doubles (65), seventh in home runs (37) and third in stolen bases (32).
    • Phillies pitching allowed the third-fewest runs among National League squads (146), fifth-fewest home runs (34), the fewest walks (82), while posting the third-smallest WHIP ratio (1.32).
    • Phillies fielders turned the fewest double plays in the National League (21), but committted the fifth-fewest errors (26).
    • Club leaders:
      • At-bats: Maikel Franco, 57
      • Runs scored: Rhys Hoskins, 14 (Tied seventh-best in MLB)
      • Hits: Scott Kingery, 23 (Third-best in MLB)
      • Doubles: Hoskins and Jesmuel Valentin, 5
      • Triples: Pedro Florimon, 2
      • Home runs: Franco, 6 (Tied fifth-best in MLB)
      • RBI: Franco, 15
      • Walks: Hoskins, 10
      • Batting strikeouts: Aaron Altherr, 17
      • Stolen bases: Roman Quinn, 9 (MLB leader)
      • ERA (among qualified pitchers): Drew Hutchison, 2.75 (10th-best in MLB)
      • Innings pitched: Ben Lively, 23
      • Hits allowed: Lively, 17
      • Runs allowed: Zach Eflin, 9
      • Home runs allowed: Nick Pivetta, 4
      • Walks allowed: Hutchison, 8
      • Pitching strikeouts: Aaron Nola, 18
      • Opposing average (among qualified pitchers): Hutchison, .171 (Fourth-best in MLB)
      • Innings fielded: Franco, 114 (Seventh-most in MLB)
      • Total chances: Jorge Alfaro, 111 (Sixth-best in MLB)
      • Putouts: Alfaro, 100 (Tied sixth-best in MLB)
      • Assists: Cesar Hernandez, 34
      • Errors committed: J.P. Crawford and Mitch Walding, 2
      • Double plays turned: Carlos Santana, 7
  • Nola becomes the the fifth different Phillies Opening Day starter since 2010, joining Hellickson (2016-2017), Hamels (2015, 2013), Lee (2014) and the late Roy Halladay (2010-2012). Since the final season of Veterans Stadium (2003), the club has only used seven unique Opening Day starters (RHP Brett Myers, 2007-2009, RHP Jon Lieber, 2005-2006 and RHP Kevin Millwood, 2003-2004).
  • Thursday will mark the sixth time in the last seven seasons that the Phillies have opened the season on the road.
  • The March 29, 2018, season opener is the earliest in Major League Baseball and Phillies franchise history. Per Baseball-Reference, the club has only opened the season four times in the month of March since 1908, all on the 31st: 2014 at TEX, 2008 vs. WSN, 2003 at FLA and 1998 at NYM.
  • All-time through four career Opening Day starts, Teheran is 1-1 with a 1.88 ERA and 16-8 strikeout-to-walk ratio through 24 innings. The right-hander has thrown six innings and allowed two runs or less in each of the outings, while posting a 1.333 WHIP.


  • The Phillies will open the season in Atlanta for the first time since Monday, April 1, 2013, Charlie Manuel's last Opening Day as a skipper. Hamels suffered the losing decision in the 7-5 defeat opposite veteran RHP Tim Hudson.
    • 2017: at CIN, W (4-3)
    • 2016: at CIN, L (2-6)
    • 2015: vs. BOS, L (0-8)
    • 2014: at TEX, W (14-10)
    • 2013: at ATL, L (5-7)
  • Phillies on disabled list:
    • RHP Mark Leiter Jr. (10-day, right forearm strain)
    • RHP Tommy Hunter (10-day, right hamstring strain)
    • RHP Jerad Eickhoff (10-day, strained right lat)

What's Next:

  • Friday, March 30, 2018: at Atlanta Braves, 7:35 p.m.
    • SunTrust Park, Atlanta, Ga.
    • RHP Nick Pivetta vs. RHP Mike Foltynewicz
    • TV: NBCSP+; Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP