Philadelphia Baseball Review - Phillies News, Rumors and Analysis
Trea Turner
Trea Turner and the Phillies host the Braves at Citizens Bank Park. | PHOTO: Greg Tinerson
Manager Rob Thomson arrived at Citizens Bank Park promptly at 6 a.m. on Friday, gearing up for the highly anticipated season opener scheduled for 3:05 p.m.
As a seasoned figure in baseball, he still experiences the familiar flutter of excitement that comes with Opening Day. 

"Absolutely," Thomson said. "I think everybody does. It's the start of spring, everybody's happy, and they want to play ball." 

On the pitching front, right-hander Zack Wheeler is poised to make his inaugural Opening Day start for the Phillies, while the Braves will counter with right-hander Spencer Strider. 

The Phillies step into the 2024 season with considerable expectations riding on their shoulders. Analysts across the board have pegged them as serious contenders for the World Series title. The same can be said though for the Braves, which adds even more excitement and intrigue to this opening series. 

Since joining the Phillies in 2020, Wheeler has consistently delivered strong performances against Atlanta. In 15 starts against the Braves, Wheeler has compiled an impressive 6-3 record, maintaining a stellar 2.49 ERA. Over 97 2/3 innings pitched, he has recorded an impressive 117 strikeouts while issuing a mere 17 walks. 

"Anytime he goes out there you really feel good about it," Thomson said. "I think he's probably excited, but he won't show it, but that's who he is." 

Despite the Braves holding the upper hand in the regular season series over the past two years, the Phillies have emerged victorious in postseason encounters against Atlanta during the same period. 

While it may not reach the legendary status of the Red Sox and Yankees rivalry from the mid-to-late 2000s, a rivalry Thomson is well acquainted with from his time as a coach and executive with the Yankees, the clashes between the Phillies and the Braves have certainly been intense. 

Thomson reflected, "It's two good teams that have had some really strong battles the last couple years, including in the playoffs and some other big games, so it's natural." 

Phillies Lineup 
  1. Kyle Schwarber, DH 
  2. Trea Turner, SS 
  3. Bryce Harper, 1B 
  4. J.T. Realmuto, C 
  5. Alec Bohm, 3B 
  6. Bryson Stott, 2B 
  7. Nick Castellanos, RF 
  8. Brandon Marsh, LF 
  9. Johan Rojas, CF 
Braves Lineup 
  1. Ronald Acuna Jr., RF 
  2. Ozzie Albies, 2B 
  3. Austin Riley, 3B 
  4. Matt Olsen, 1B 
  5. Marcell Ozuna, DH 
  6. Michael Harris II, CF 
  7. Sean Murphy, C 
  8. Orlando Arcia, SS 
  9. Jarred Kelenic, LF 
Braves Notes 
Atlanta is 26-41 (.388) on Opening Day when starting on the road during the modern era (1900) ... Today marks the 29th time the Braves will open the season against the Phillies, including the 16th time in Philadelphia ... Today marks Strider's ninth career appearance and eighth start against the Phillies. He enters with a perfect 8-0 record and a 1.90 ERA ... Strider has whiffed at least nine in each of his last six starts against Philadelphia. 

The Odds 
BetMGM has the Braves as slight favorites at -115. The over/under is set at seven. Kyle Schwarber has the best odds to homer for the Phils at +360.

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Philadelphia Baseball Review - Phillies News, Rumors and Analysis