Opening Day FAQ: Phillies vs. Rangers
ARLINGTON -- For the first time since 2009, the Phillies and the Rangers will face off on Opening Day, kicking off a season filled with excitement on both sides.
The two clubs are coming off of vastly different 2022 seasons: The Phillies won the National League pennant, while the Rangers had their sixth consecutive losing season. But both enter ‘23 with sky-high expectations behind potentially elite rotations.
The Rangers reinvented their rotation in free agency by adding ace Jacob deGrom, Nathan Eovaldi and Andrew Heaney to returnees Jon Gray and Martín Pérez, and their offense should continue to thrive behind Corey Seager and Marcus Semien.
The Phillies lost 2021 NL MVP Bryce Harper for at least half of the season to Tommy John surgery, but they added shortstop Trea Turner in free agency to improve a lineup that went to the World Series just last season.
When is the game and how can I watch it?
First pitch at Globe Life Field is scheduled for 3:05 p.m. CT on Thursday. The game will be available on MLB.TV and on Bally Sports Southwest in Texas, as well as the radio call on 105.3 The Fan. For Philadelphia fans, it will be available on NBC 10.
What are the lineups?
1. Trea Turner, SS
2. Kyle Schwarber, DH
3. J.T. Realmuto, C
4. Darick Hall, 1B
5. Nick Castellanos, RF
6. Bryson Stott, 2B
7. Alec Bohm, 3B
8. Jake Cave, LF
9. Brandon Marsh, CF
1. Marcus Semien, 2B
2. Corey Seager, SS
3. Nathaniel Lowe, 1B
4. Adolis García, CF
5. Josh Jung, 3B
6. Jonah Heim, C
7. Robbie Grossman, RF
8. Brad Miller, DH
9. Josh H. Smith, LF
Who are the starting pitchers?
Phillies: Aaron Nola's sixth consecutive Opening Day start further entrenches him as one of the greatest starting pitchers in franchise history. But will this be his last? The Phillies hoped to sign Nola to a contract extension before Opening Day, but he is expected to test free agency.
Only Robin Roberts and Steve Carlton have started more consecutive season openers than Nola: Roberts started 12 straight from 1950-61, and Carlton started 10 straight from 1977-86. But even without those Opening Day starts, Nola has been one of the best pitchers in franchise history: He ranks 24th in team history with 29.6 bWAR. The only pitchers with better bWAR in their Phillies careers are Roberts (71.9), Carlton (69.4), Grover Cleveland Alexander (61.2), Cole Hamels (43), Curt Schilling (36.3), Charlie Ferguson (31.7) and Jim Bunning (30.8). Nola’s 28.3 bWAR from 2017-22 ranks third in the Majors behind only Max Scherzer (33.6) and deGrom (29.4).
Rangers: Jacob deGrom will make his fourth career Opening Day start and his first with the Rangers, manager Bruce Bochy announced on Friday. He will be the club’s 14th Opening Day starter since 2010. The last Texas pitcher to start consecutive season openers was Kevin Millwood from 2006-09, something the Rangers would like to change with deGrom over the next five years he's under contract.
deGrom will also be the first Opening Day starter in Rangers history to take the mound after having won multiple Cy Young Awards, and just the third Texas pitcher to start on Opening Day after having won at least one Cy Young, joining Fergie Jenkins (NL Cy Young in 1971) and Gaylord Perry (AL Cy Young in ‘72).
How might the bullpens line up after the starter?
Phillies: Philadelphia manager Rob Thomson uses a closer-by-committee approach, meaning Seranthony Domínguez, José Alvarado, Gregory Soto and Craig Kimbrel could see time in the ninth inning this season, but Domínguez or Alvarado are likely the top two choices on Opening Day. Connor Brogdon and Andrew Bellatti slot behind those four. Matt Strahm entered camp as another high-leverage option for Thomson, but he will start the season as the No. 5 starter with Ranger Suárez sidelined because of a left elbow injury.
Rangers: With deGrom on a limited pitch count due to his delay with “left side soreness” at the start of camp, manager Bruce Bochy will no doubt go to a long-relief option behind his ace, such as Dane Dunning or Cole Ragans. The closer hasn’t been determined yet, but it’s expected to come down to José Leclerc and Jonathan Hérnandez. Brock Burke, who had a breakout season in 2022, is also a high-leverage option this year.
Any injuries of note?
Phillies: Rhys Hoskins suffered a season-ending ACL injury in his left knee on Thursday. Harper is still recovering from Tommy John surgery in November. He could be back anywhere from late May to mid-July.
Rangers: Center fielder Leody Taveras has been sidelined with a “low-grade oblique strain” since March 6, and the switch-hitter has been unable to swing from both sides of the plate. He has been able to play defense in the outfield, but is still progressing slowly. Bochy said it’s possible Taveras could be ready for the back end of the first homestand of the season, so he can avoid an IL stint, but Thompson is expected to start in center field on Opening Day.
Who’s hot and who’s not?
Phillies: Turner had an otherworldly WBC. Realmuto and Schwarber played well, too. Bohm has been very impressive this spring, leading many to believe he is going to take his game to another level. Hall, who replaces Hoskins, has also played well this spring.
Rangers: Seager played on another level all spring, finishing Cactus League play on a 15-game hitting streak. The Rangers' shortstop hit .458 with a 1.238 OPS, four home runs and nine RBIs over his 19 games. The entire infield has produced in camp, including Lowe, Semien and rookie third baseman Jung.