Throughout the season, every player on the Phillies roster is going to be taking his turn on the bench as manager Gabe Kapler mixes and matches players to suit the situation and the opposing pitcher. Sitting on Opening Day though is not where any major leaguer wants to be. Unfortunately for Odubel Herrera, the bench is where you’ll find him when the Phillies take the field for Opening Day in Atlanta.
With four outfielders slated to get regular at-bats, Kapler elected to start Nick Williams in right field and Aaron Altherr in center field against Atlanta’s Julio Teheran. Rhys Hoskins will man his usual spot in left field.
The Phillies Opening Day Lineup looks like this:
There was some question whether Hernandez would make the start at second base or step aside for Scott Kingery, who recently signed a sizable deal with the Phillies despite not having ever played in the majors. Kapler has said that his lineups will be partially predicated on how a player has performed previously against an opposing pitcher and Hernandez is a .107 hitter in 28 at-bats against Teheran. Kapler had also said that he would at times defer to a veteran player when making out a lineup.
Franco is the Phillies best hitter against Teheran, with a .357 career average in 28 at-bats, but Hoskins hit Teheran well in his first big league season going 2-for-6 against the right-hander. Herrera is a .185 hitter against Teheran in 27 at-bats, with Altherr hitting .126 in 16 at-bats and Williams at .200 in 10 at-bats.
Neither Phillies catcher has faced Teheran prior to Opening Day. Kapler went with Knapp over Jorge Alfaro, who figures to see most of the playing time behind the plate this season. Carlos Santana has also never faced Teheran.
Nola is making his first career Opening Day start. Teheran will be making his fifth career start on Opening Day becoming the fifth Braves pitcher to make at least five starts. The other are Rick Mahler (5), Greg Maddux (7), Phil Niekro (8) and Warren Spahn (10).