Herrera Sits on Opening Day

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:

Cesar Hernandez – 2B
Carlos Santana – 1B
Nick Williams – RF
Rhys Hoskins – LF
Aaron Altherr – CF
J.P. Crawford – SS
Maikel Franco – 3B
Andrew Knapp – C
Aaron Nola – P

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).

Chuck Hixson

Chuck has a wide and varied background in covering sports both locally and nationally. Living in the Lehigh Valley area of Pennsylvania, Chuck has the distinction of being the only person to have covered both the Lehigh Valley IronPigs and Lehigh Valley Phantoms in every season of their existence. Chuck began covering sports in 1998 when he was the first program director and morning host at WTKZ-AM in Allentown, Pennsylvania when the station switched to an all sports format. Chuck produced the stations coverage of the Allentown Ambassadors baseball team, which played in the independent Northeast League. From there, Chuck was the editor and writer of Pinstripes magazine, covering Phillies baseball. That led to Chuck founding Philly Baseball Insider in 2003. Chuck has done freelance work for national entities such as USA TODAY, CBS, FOX Sports, Washington Times and others.

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