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It appears Aaron Nola will start on Opening Day

Aaron Nola is likely to start on Opening Day. (Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire)

To the shock of no one, it appears that Aaron Nola will get the ball for Philadelphia Phillies on Opening Day in Miami on March 26.

Matt Breen of The Philadelphia Inquirer says that despite Nola being scratched from his Grapefruit League start Monday because of the flu, it appears that he will start in the team’s first regular season game of the season:

Girardi smiled Monday when asked if the Phillies have decided who will start for them on opening day, knowing it’s almost an open secret that it will be Nola.

“We have an idea, but we haven’t announced it yet,” Girardi said.

While the Phillies finished under .500 against the lowly Marlins a season ago, Nola was excellent against the Fish, posting a 2.08 ERA in three starts. He did post an 0-2 record against the team, though, an indication of how much the Phillies struggled against a team that won only 57 total games in 2019.

If all goes as planned, 2020 will be Nola’s third consecutive Opening Day start, making him the first Phillie to do so since Hall of Famer Roy Halladay made three straight Opening Day starts between 2010 and 2012. He still has quite a way to go before he matches Hall of Famer Robin Roberts’ franchise record of 12 consecutive Opening Day starts. Hall of Famer Steve Carlton holds the franchise record of 14 career Opening Day starts.

A season ago, Nola pitched six innings at Citizens Bank Park against the Atlanta Braves, allowing just two hits and one run in a 10-4 win. That was an improvement over two seasons ago, when Gabe Kapler infamously pulled Nola after just 68 pitches in Atlanta, a game that saw the Phillies blow a 5-0 lead.

Nola starting Opening Day would mean that Zack Wheeler is likely to make his Phillies debut in the second game of the season. Wheeler – who signed a five-year/$118 million deal with the Phillies this offseason – is 3-0 with a 1.55 ERA in six career starts at Marlins Park.


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