To the shock and surprise of, frankly, no Phillies fan in existence, Gabe Kapler announced on Friday that Aaron Nola would, indeed, be the Phillies’ Opening Day starter for the second consecutive year.
As many may recall, Nola dazzled against the Braves in his 2018 debut, tossing 5.1 frames of one run ball — but things took a turn for the worst when Kapler, then a rookie manager, tugged the Phillies’ ace early to pin “lefty specialist,” Hoby Milner against Braves’ first baseman, Freddie Freeman, who consequently smacked a solo shot off of the now-Tampa Bay reliever. This began the downward spiral of the 2018 Phillies’ Opening Day campaign, and they eventually fell to Atlanta by a score of 8-5.
Nola, who finished third in the 2018 Cy Young voting, will undoubtably be given a longer leash this time around, especially in front of a home crowd.
The Braves, who have run into quite a few injury snags this Spring, have yet to announce an Opening Day starter, though Julio Teheran seems the most likely choice, in lieu of Mike Foltynewicz’ health status.
This is a rematch that you won’t want to miss, so tune in on March 28th as the Phillies take on the Braves to kick off the 2019 season. The Phillies’ lineup might look brand new, but their ace remains the same.