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Nola gets Opening Day nod for Phillies

Right-hander to make third consecutive season-opening start
@ToddZolecki
July 20, 2020

PHILADELPHIA -- Aaron Nola joined some remarkable company Monday, when Phillies manager Joe Girardi said that the 27-year-old right-hander will start Opening Day on Friday against the Marlins at Citizens Bank Park. It will be Nola’s third consecutive Opening Day start. Roy Halladay (2010-12) is the last Phillies pitcher to

PHILADELPHIA -- Aaron Nola joined some remarkable company Monday, when Phillies manager Joe Girardi said that the 27-year-old right-hander will start Opening Day on Friday against the Marlins at Citizens Bank Park.

It will be Nola’s third consecutive Opening Day start.

Roy Halladay (2010-12) is the last Phillies pitcher to start three consecutive Opening Days. The last pitcher to start four? Steve Carlton, who started 10 consecutive season openers from 1977-86.

“I feel like I’m ready,” Nola said Saturday, after pitching five-plus scoreless innings in an exhibition against the Nationals.

Nola missed the first few days of Summer Camp after coming into contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, but he was able to catch up. Girardi said there is no set rotation following Nola because Zack Wheeler’s wife is due to give birth to their first child on Saturday, and Zach Eflin is behind schedule after missing several days because of lower back spasms. Wheeler remains scheduled to start Saturday, while Eflin is scheduled to pitch a simulated game Thursday. If it goes well, Eflin could start next week.

“Aaron will start Game 1,” Girardi said. “I can tell you that.”

Nola has pitched well in his first two Opening Day starts. He allowed one run and struck out eight in six innings in a 10-4 victory over the Braves in 2019. Former Phillies manager Gabe Kapler infamously pulled Nola after 68 pitches on Opening Day in '18. Nola allowed just one run in 5 1/3 innings. The move ultimately backfired, as the Phillies lost to the Braves, 8-5.

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook .