Phillies on national stage to open ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball

Maikel Franco is swinging a hot bat for the Phillies
The Phillies have won their first two games to open a season for the first time in eight years, and tonight they'll host a game on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball for the first time since September of 2011.

Times appear to be changing.

The offense has highlighted the first two games of the season, with the club hitting six homers to set a franchise record dating back to 1908. The 17 runs over the two games is a mark they've hit just five times, also dating back to 1908.

"It's a scary lineup," Rhys Hoskins said following Thursday's season opener.

Right-hander Jake Arrieta takes the hill tonight for the Phillies. Manager Gabe Kapler said he specifically held Arrieta back in the rotation so he could pitch on the national stage tonight.

"He's done it before, he knows what it's like out there with the additional pressure," Kapler said.

Arrieta has made two career starts on Sunday Night Baseball and won both contests while posting a 1.88 ERA. In his first start, he tossed a no-hitter and collected 12 strikeouts en route to a win over the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium.

Maikel starting out hot
With his homer yesterday, Maikel Franco became the first Phillies hitter batting out of the eight-or-nine spots to hit a homer in the first two games of the season.

A starting debut
Braves hurler Kyle Wright will make his first career major league start tonight against the Phillies. The right-hander enters the season ranked by MLB.com as Atlanta's No. 2 prospect, and as the No. 30 prospect in all of baseball. He made four appearances last season, pitching to a 4.50 ERA over six innings.

Sunday night history
The Phillies are 26-21 all-time in Sunday night games.
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Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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