Opening Day Preview: Phillies at Reds

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Apr 4, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson throws against the Cincinnati Reds during the first inning at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 4, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson throws against the Cincinnati Reds during the first inning at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports /
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Baseball season is finally here. The Philadelphia Phillies will begin the 2017 season today when they take on the Cincinnati Reds on the road. Here is a preview of what to watch for as the Phils look to get off to a good start in 2017.

Baseball is back.

The Phillies are in Cincinnati to open the season for the second straight year as they will take on the Reds this afternoon at 4 p.m.

Jeremy Hellickson will become the first Phillies pitcher to make back to back starts on Opening Day since Roy Halladay made three straight from 2010-2012.

Last season, the Reds stormed back late in the game to take down the Phillies by a final of 6-2.

Philadelphia Phillies
Philadelphia Phillies /

Philadelphia Phillies

Hellickson pitched an outstanding game on Opening Day last season, handing the bullpen a 2-1 lead for the final nine outs. But the Reds offense caught fire in the eighth inning, striking for five runs and put an end to the Phils’ bid for an Opening Day victory.

Pete Mackanin’s lineup will have a different look to this season as longtime Phillies Ryan Howard and Carlos Ruiz are no longer part of the organization. Veterans Howie Kendrick and Michael Saunders came to Philly in the offseason and will bat second and fifth, respectively, in the first lineup of the season.

Cesar Hernandez will be the leadoff man for the second straight season, while Freddy Galvis will make another opening day start at shortstop and hit in the eight hole.

With the Big Piece having played his last game as a member of the Phillies, the Tommy Joseph era at first base has begun. He will make his first start on Opening Day this afternoon and will hit sixth, right in front of catcher Cameron Rupp, who will also make his first Opening Day start.

The opposing pitcher this afternoon will be Scott Feldman, who will be making his third Opening Day start, with his first two starts coming with Texas and Houston. He has fared well in his first two openers, boasting a 1-0 record with a 1.98 ERA.

The only members of the starting lineup to face Feldman in their careers are Kendrick and Saunders. Kendrick has faced Feldman 13 times in his career and has a .538 average.

Feb 18, 2017; Goodyear, AZ, USA; Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto (19) poses for a photo during spring training media day at the Cincinnati Reds Player Development Complex. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 18, 2017; Goodyear, AZ, USA; Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto (19) poses for a photo during spring training media day at the Cincinnati Reds Player Development Complex. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /

The Reds no longer have Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce in the lineup, but longtime-Red Joey Votto is still a force in the middle of the order.

Along with Votto, emerging power hitter Adam Duvall is a player to watch out for. The Reds also still have speedy center fielder Billy Hamilton, who is a threat to steal every time he’s on base.

The Phillies enter the season with the potential to play consistent .500 baseball all season, and Monday is the perfect opportunity to get things started on a positive note.

Next: Philadelphia Phillies Season 2017: Five Storylines

First pitch is set for 4:10 p.m. in Cincy with the game being broadcast on Comcast SportsNet. If you’re not able to get to a TV, read here for how to watch the game online.

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