Our event of the day is the MLB meeting between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Atlanta Braves at Citizens Bank Park. In what is their first game of the season, both sides will be desperate to secure the win to get their campaigns off to the best possible start. Philadelphia have had a mixed Spring Training, having won 14, tied 3 and lost 14 of their 31 preseason outings. Meanwhile, Atlanta have had a similar run-up to their season opener tonight, losing 16 of their 32 fixtures. It is hard to read too much into preseason matches making it particularly difficult to predict the winner of tonight’s clash. After hitting 34 Home Runs last season, first baseman Rhys Hoskins finished 20th on the HR scoring list and will be hoping to contribute similar numbers this time round. However, after sustaining a shoulder injury during Spring Training, Hoskins sat out their final two fixtures of preseason and is facing a race against time to be fit for today’s season-opener.
On the flip side, the playoff-hungry roster has been boosted in the offseason after right fielder Bryce Harper signed a record-breaking contract with the Phillies. He signed a 13-year deal worth $330m, making his contract the most lucrative in the history of the sport. After seeing success with other sporting outfits in recent years, the Philadelphia faithful will be hoping Harper can guide their beloved Phillies back to the playoffs after a seven year hiatus from postseason baseball. As far as their opposition goes, according to ESPN’s power rankings, Braves’ first baseman Freddie Freeman was ranked the 25th best player in the league and he will be relied upon once more this term to steer his side back to the playoffs. Last season, he hit 28 homers despite missing 45 regular season games, which is just six fewer than his career high set in 2016, which he will certainly be looking to surpass in this new term. After appearing in the playoffs in 15 of the 16 seasons between 1991 and 2005, the Braves have clinched just four playoff berths in the 13 seasons since and they’ll be desperate to improve that record this time round. These sides met early on in their respective Spring Training campaigns, on which occasion the Braves ran out 5-4 winners. As the MLB season starts across America today, both sides will look to get their season off to the best possible start at Citizens Bank Park tonight!
Honourable mentions around the globe go to the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship where we have reached the Sweet 16 stage. There are two games to watch out for tonight with the number one ranked team in the West, the Gonzaga Bulldogs in action as they face the Florida State Seminoles at the Honda Center in Anaheim. Meanwhile, there is a battle of the titans in the southern bracket as the Tennessee Volunteers take to the KFC Yum! Center court with the Purdue Boilermakers as the sides look to book their place in the Elite Eight stage of March Madness. Elsewhere, Leeds Rhinos will be gunning for just their second win of the Super League season as they welcome Castleford Tigers to Emerald Headingley Stadium. As the NHL’s regular season starts to wind down, there is still plenty of action to watch out for, as the San Jose Sharks host the Chicago Blackhawks tonight whilst the New York Islanders travel to face the Winnipeg Jets at the Bell MTS Place. In the AFL, Richmond welcome Collingwood to the Melbourne Cricket Ground tonight where the hosts will look to extend their perfect start to the new season. Finally, it is Judgement Night in the Unibet Premier League which tonight takes place in Rotterdam where the home-crowd favourites will do battle as Raymond van Barneveld takes on Michael van Gerwen.
Whatever you’re watching, enjoy!
Photos by Philadelphia Phillies; MLB
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