Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
The Official Site of the Atlanta Braves
news

Braves Team News

Teheran making 5th consecutive OD start

MLB.com @mlbbowman

When the Braves and Phillies open the regular season with Thursday afternoon's matchup at SunTrust Park, they will begin their respective attempts to exceed expectations and possibly become this season's biggest surprise.

The Phillies enhanced the possibility of becoming this year's Cinderella story when they signed former National League Cy Young Award winner Jake Arrieta during Spring Training. But first-year manager Gabe Kapler will hand the first start of the season to Aaron Nola. The Braves will counter with Julio Teheran, who will become the first pitcher in Atlanta history to make five consecutive Opening Day starts.

View Full Game Coverage

When the Braves and Phillies open the regular season with Thursday afternoon's matchup at SunTrust Park, they will begin their respective attempts to exceed expectations and possibly become this season's biggest surprise.

The Phillies enhanced the possibility of becoming this year's Cinderella story when they signed former National League Cy Young Award winner Jake Arrieta during Spring Training. But first-year manager Gabe Kapler will hand the first start of the season to Aaron Nola. The Braves will counter with Julio Teheran, who will become the first pitcher in Atlanta history to make five consecutive Opening Day starts.

View Full Game Coverage

While the Nationals are the favorites to win the NL East, the Braves and Phillies believe they have progressed enough through their rebuilds to make some noise within the division this year.

"The National League East, I think is the hardest division in baseball," Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman said. "There are starting pitchers up and down the division. You never get a night off. It's going to be a tough division, but I think we can stack up."

The Phillies' offseason acquisition of first baseman Carlos Santana added power to a lineup that became much more formidable with last year's late-season additions of left fielder Rhys Hoskins and catcher Jorge Alfaro. Highly regarded prospect Scott Kingery might not start Thursday's game, but the talented infielder should soon find himself as a regular in Philadelphia's lineup.

While Kingery likely found a spot on Philadelphia's Opening Day roster by signing a six-year, $24 million extension this week, the Braves will probably wait until at least April 14 to provide their top prospect, Ronald Acuna, his much-anticipated Major League debut.

Kapler said he will evaluate the possibility of rewarding a veteran with the Opening Day start and wait an additional day or two to provide Kingery his first start.

"There's no question about it that there's a ripple effect to whatever decisions we make. We're well aware of it. One of the things that we pride ourselves on is communicating effectively, communicating preemptively, so nothing comes as a surprise."

Three things to know about this game

• When Philadelphia and Atlanta last met on Opening Day in 2013, Braves outfielder Ender Inciarte was on the Phillies' roster as a Rule 5 Draft selection. He was returned to the D-backs before the season's second game was played.

• Having signed on March 12, Arrieta is lined up to make his season debut on April 8.

• Teheran will join Phil Niekro (8), Greg Maddux (7) and Rick Mahler (5) as the only pitchers in Atlanta history to make at least five Opening Day starts. Warren Spahn holds the franchise record with 10.

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.

Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies, Aaron Nola, Julio Teheran