Aaron Nola
It's finally here. The Phillies will begin their defense of the National League pennant on Thursday as the club opens a three-game set in Arlington with the Rangers. 

Aaron Nola will make his sixth straight opening day start, a feat bested by only Robin Roberts (12) and Steve Carlton (10). Nola is entering a contract year and is coming off a solid 2022 campaign posting a 3.25 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP. The right-hander whiffed 235 over 205 innings and was outstanding down the stretch for the Phils. 

The Phillies and Nola had been discussing a potential contract extension, but both parties have agreed to table the negotiations until after the season.

"Sometimes it comes to that, we'll talk at the end of the season," Nola said, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. "I'm focused on this year. We want to win, so just focused on having a good season and having fun with these guys. "We definitely tried to get it done, but it just didn't work out right now. Doesn't mean it's over, by any means. We'll talk at the end of the season and see what happens." 

Nola will make $16 million this year. 

Jacob deGrom will make his Rangers debut in the opener. He inked a five-year, $185 million deal with the club in the offseason. He spent the previous nine years with the Mets. A four-time All-Star, he has a career 2.52 ERA. 

The righty will be on a pitch count in the opener. He dealt with left side tightness earlier in the spring.

"You know, early we had to hold him back a little bit, but we think he’s good to go," Rangers skipper Bruce Bochy told reporters last week. "We have the day off after Opening Day, so we know we can cover him. We’re not looking for him to take us real deep in the game or anything. This just makes all the sense in the world to us.” 

The Rangers have used 14 different opening day starters dating back to 2010. 

The club finished 68-94 last year and hasn't posted a winning record since 2016.
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