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  W: A. Vizcaíno (1-0)   L: H. Neris (0-1)
1:10 PM PT2:10 PM MT3:10 PM CT4:10 PM ET16:10 ET20:10 GMT4:10 1:10 PM MST3:10 PM EST3:40 PM VEN0:10 UAE (+1)3:10 PM CT, March 29, 2018
SunTrust Park, Atlanta, Georgia  Attendance: 40,208

'Past the rebuilding' Phillies open at home of the Braves

ATLANTA -- The Atlanta Braves targeted 2019 in their rebuild, but the Philadelphia Phillies hope to start seeing results this season after adding former Cy Young Award winner Jake Arrieta and first baseman Carlos Santana as free agents.

Arrieta won't pitch until at least April 8 after signing late, but the Phillies will have a young potential co-ace on the mound when they open against the Braves at Atlanta's two-year-old SunTrust Park on Thursday in Gabe Kapler's managerial debut.

Right-hander Aaron Nola, the seventh overall pick in the 2014 draft, gets the call for the opener after the 24-year-old won 12 games despite a slow start a year ago, posting a 3.18 ERA from June 1 on.

"He's going to command all four quadrants of the strike zone with three pitches," Kapler said during spring training. "There are very few guys who can spot up with the fastball, curve and changeup. The way he changes speeds is really spectacular."

Nola's fastball ticked up to 93 mph last season, but the curveball remains his calling card. He threw it 30 percent of the time a year ago and oppoents hit .172 against it in 2017.

The Phillies haven't had a winning record since they won 102 games in 2011 and, like the Braves, lost 90 or more games the past three seasons.

"If each one of us takes a step up in our game, we're going to be better," Nola said of 2018. "A lot of people think we're still rebuilding, but we're past the rebuilding."

Philadelphia, though, was even worse than the Braves a season ago, finishing last in the National League East at 66-96. Atlanta was third with a 72-90 record.

Right-hander Julio Teheran will start for the Braves opposite Nola, becoming the first Atlanta pitcher to start five consecutive openers. Hall of Famer Greg Maddux and Rick Mahler started four in a row.

"Making history, it's exciting and motivating," Teheran said. "I'm just happy to be once again start opening day and want to get the win."

The 27-year-old native of Colombia is 1-1 with a 1.86 ERA in his four previous openers, allowing two earned runs or fewer and completing at least six innings each time.

Teheran is aiming to rebound from a disappointing 2017 season that saw him struggle mightily in home games on the way to an 11-13 record and a 4.49 ERA that was his worst in a full season.

He was 3-10 with a 5.86 ERA in 17 home starts last season and 8-3 with a 3.14 ERA in 15 road starts.

"What happened last year, it was kind of the year I didn't want to have," Teheran said. "This year is different."

Teheran is 8-6 with a 3.38 ERA lifetime against the Phillies, but he was 1-2 with 5.79 ERA last season in two starts at home and two on the road.

The victory came at Philadelphia on Aug. 30, when Teheran allowed just one run and five hits in 6 2/3 innings while striking out eight and walking one.

Nola has been at his best against the Braves in his first three seasons, going 5-1 with a 1.96 ERA in seven starts.

The former LSU standout won both of his starts against Atlanta last season, posting a 1.20 ERA in 15 innings. He allowed 10 hits, struck out 12 and walked just one.

The Phillies won 13 of the 19 games against the Braves last season, going 5-4 in Atlanta and 8-2 at home.

Updated March 28, 2018

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