Notebook: Phillies set for opener tonight against Marlins

Aaron Nola to make third straight Opening Day start
It's been a strange ride, but here we are on Opening Day. The Phillies bring a new look with an improved roster and a proven manager. Now, with an expanded postseason, the Phillies seem primed to play meaningful baseball late into the summer.

“I personally like it," manager Joe Girardi said on Thursday, speaking of the expanded postseason. "I think what every organization and team asks for is, if you’re going to have wild cards, there’s some fairness to it,” Phillies manager Joe Girardi said. “And with East Coast playing East Coast, Central playing Central, West playing West, there’s no crossover. We’re not going to see any other teams in the National League besides the teams in our division. So I think it is fair that this is added.”

The Phillies open the season tonight at Citizens Bank Park with a contest against the Marlins. Aaron Nola will take the hill for the Phils, marking his third consecutive Opening Day start. The Marlins counter with young righty and 2019 All-Star Sandy Alcantara.

With tonight's start, Nola is the first Phillies pitcher to make three straight Opening Day starts since Roy Halladay from 2010-12.

Eflin Update
Girardi said Zach Eflin looked "great" in a simulated game on Thursday, so he'll join the starting rotation and is set to pitch in New York against the Yankees next week.

Response to Betts contract
Phillies GM Matt Klentak was asked Thursday about the mega-deal the Dodgers and Mookie Betts agreed to, and his response was interesting.

"In terms of the Mookie Betts contract, I had a chance to kind of go through the terms this afternoon and look at it,” Klentak said. “I'm always careful not to weigh in on another team's player or contract, but I will say that it appears to me that it was a very creative and collaborative solution that really reflects the uniqueness of 2020. I should probably just leave it there."

Phils catcher J.T. Realmuto is eyeing a new long-term deal and it appears he and the Phillies have hit a wall due partly to financial uncertainties stemming from the pandemic. Realmuto has said he's not interested in talking about his contract during the season, so it's looking as if the Phillies will let him test the open market and make an effort to re-sign him in the offseason.

Tonight's Odds & Weather
The Phillies are listed as heavy favorites (-200) tonight according to Fanduel. The over is set at nine runs. It'll be humid with temperatures hovering around 80. There is a slight risk of some thunderstorms rolling through, especially early in the evening.
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Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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