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After a long offseason and spring training, the day we have all been waiting for is finally here! The Phillies will kick off the 2017 season the same way they started last year, against the Cincinnati Reds.
What to Expect
The Phillies will look to start off 2017 on the right note, specifically late in games. In case you burned the memories from your brain, the bullpen imploded last year in Cincy, giving up 13 runs in 7.2 innings. With Hector Neris, Jeanmar Gomez and the additions of Pat Neshek and Joaquin Benoit, the Phils hope to be in better hands this season.
Believe it or not, the Phillies are the more experienced team going into this series. The Reds are in the middle of a rebuild, but unlike the Phils, who have a few key players in place, the Reds are still seeing which pieces of the puzzle fit. With Brandon Phillips in Atlanta, the Reds are now trying to build an identity.
The top of the lineup will be key for the Phils, especially against the young pitchers the Reds will be putting on the mound. Look for Cesar Hernandez (.278 at Great American Ball Park) and Odubel Herrera (.261 at GABP) to get things started quickly.
Monday at 4:10 p.m.: Jeremy Hellickson vs. Scott Feldman
Hellickson gets the opening day start for the second year in a row. He’ll go up against Scott Feldman, who was the last resort for the Reds as their starting rotation is injury-riddled. We can only hope the bullpen does a better job protecting the lead this year.
Wednesday at 7:10 p.m.: Jered Eickhoff vs. Brandon Finnegan
Many thought Eickhoff deserved the opening day nod but nonetheless, he’ll square off against Finnegan for Game 2. While Eickhoff certainly has the upper hand, both pitchers have the tendency to give up the longball, which should make for an interesting game.
Thursday at 12:35 p.m.: Clay Buchholz vs. Rookie Davis
It’ll be the veteran vs. the Rookie for the series closer. Buchholz was acquired by the Phils to give the young rotation another seasoned arm. He’ll look to right his spring training woes against the aptly named Davis, who will make his major league debut.
Let’s get this thing started, shall we?