Aaron Nola and Jacob deGrom will square off in the Phillies-Rangers season opener.
As the Philadelphia Phillies determine who will round out their rotation for the opening week of the 2023 regular season, one definite thing is who will be their starting pitcher on Opening Day against the Texas Rangers.
Friday afternoon, the organization announced that right-hander Aaron Nola will get the nod — marking his sixth consecutive Opening Day start. It is the third-longest such streak in franchise history, trailing only Robin Roberts (12), from 1950-61; and Steve Carlton (10), from 1977-86.
Nola will go up against none other than two-time Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom.
The longtime New York Mets ace joined the Rangers this past offseason by signing a lucrative five-year, $185 million contract. The 34-year-old experienced left-side tightness at the beginning of spring training, which delayed his debut. Therefore, deGrom will not be 100 percent stretched out when he faces the Phillies for the 21st time in his career.
The game plan for manager Rob Thomson come Thursday should be to take pitches and make deGrom work early. After all, the right-hander is 9-1 with a 2.18 ERA and 0.958 WHIP lifetime against the Phillies, so the club should do whatever it takes to take advantage of his pitch count limit. DeGrom tossed six scoreless innings in a start against the Phillies just last season.
The Phillies and Rangers starting lineups remain to be seen, although it is now unfortunately known that Rhys Hoskins will not be a middle-of-the-order power threat for the coming season. The first baseman tore his ACL in a spring training game against the Detroit Tigers on Thursday and requires season-ending surgery.
The Rangers are not immune to injuries themselves. Among their sidelined players include veteran starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi, who has yet to pitch in a game this spring training due to arm fatigue.
The Phillies' deep postseason run kept this past offseason short, which is a good thing. Hopefully, the rest of their team can remain healthy for a similarly magical Red October.