April 04, 2016
CINCINNATI – The Phillies season is a little more than four hours from getting underway.
The first pitch of the 2016 season. The first hit. The first home run. It’s a ceremonial day, Opening Day.
And the first of firsts: the first lineup.
Opening Day Lineups for Phillies, Reds. pic.twitter.com/LPYkjVH8Uj— Ryan Lawrence (@ryanlawrence21) April 4, 2016
No real surprises here.
As I predicted back before camp opened in Clearwater two months ago, manager Pete Mackanin is going with the two veterans and remnants from the 2008 World Championship team, Ryan Howard and Carlos Ruiz, on Opening Day. Again, it’s a ceremonial day. Again, as I wrote eight weeks ago, this isn’t an indicator of who will be in the lineup regularly for the remainder of the 161 games on the schedule.
Mackanin said Monday, however, that both Howard and Ruiz would also likely start the home opener a week from today at Citizens Bank Park for "sentimental reasons." But he also said Cameron Rupp would get the bulk of the starting time at catcher this season, which is hardly a surprise because that's what happened the second half of last season, too.
By the way: the one Opening Day lineup name I got wrong from those predictions (because of an injury to Aaron Altherr): Cedric Hunter starts in left field. Hunter was one of the better stories in camp, and was “emotional” after learning he earned a spot on the Phillies 25-man roster two days ago.