Phillies

Aaron Nola can't wait to get a taste of that Citizens Bank Park electricity

Aaron Nola can't wait to get a taste of that Citizens Bank Park electricity

SARASOTA, Fla. — The sold-out crowd of 10,276 at Spectrum Field on Saturday gave Aaron Nola a taste of what to expect on March 28 when he makes his second consecutive opening day start.

The difference for Nola this time around, aside from the incredible hype surrounding this Phillies team, is that he won't be opening on the road.

What's Nola expecting the atmosphere to be like for that 3:05 p.m. game against the Braves?

"Oh, crazy," he said. "Packed house. I haven't opened up in Philly since I've been here. It was a packed house with Bryce yesterday and I'm pretty sure with the hype already, it's gonna be a packed house."

That will be the case at least 81 times this season. Phillies fans came out in droves on Saturday and made the hour trip to Sarasota on Sunday to watch Nola make his second start of the spring against the Orioles.

Nola struck out six over three innings, exiting after a hit began the fourth. He was a bit wild in the first inning, cutting his fastball more than he intended, but he had the curveball working and hit a groove in the second and third innings.

"I think it's gonna take a few more outings, but I'm getting close, I feel like," Nola said.

Monday's game in Clearwater against the Rays will be another capacity crowd, with Bryce Harper expected to make his first start as a Phillie in right field. 

And in a few short weeks, the results of Harper's at-bats and Nola's starts will actually matter.

"All we've heard is how great it is with the atmosphere," Nola said. "Jimmy Rollins, Cole Hamels, all those guys, Chooch, Howie, Kyle Kendrick the other day. I would see it on TV, too."

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Philadelphia native Mike Koplove emerges as strong candidate for Phillies' scouting director job

Philadelphia native Mike Koplove emerges as strong candidate for Phillies' scouting director job

The Phillies have two huge job openings to fill in their baseball operations department.

Obviously, they are looking for a new manager, and that process ramped up on Monday.

The team also needs to fill the important scouting director’s role. That job opened when Johnny Almarez stepped down in September.

The search for a new scouting boss is being led by assistant general manager Bryan Minniti and it is apparently well underway.

According to multiple major league sources, the Phillies have conducted a number of recent interviews for the position. Among those to interview are in-house candidates Greg Schilz, Mike Koplove and Darrell Conner.

Outside candidates, according to sources, include David Crowson of the Miami Marlins, Sam Hughes of the Chicago Cubs, Brian Barber of the New York Yankees, Dan Ontiveros of the Kansas City Royals and Scott Meaney of the Cleveland Indians. All have high-ranking scouting positions with their organizations.

It’s possible that there are other candidates or more will emerge. But these are the names being talked about in baseball circles at the moment.

Schilz ranked No. 2 in the Phillies’ amateur scouting staff behind Almaraz. He joined the club in the fall of 2016 after 12 years with the Pittsburgh Pirates and was elevated to assistant scouting director in the fall of 2017.

Koplove is an interesting candidate. He is a Philadelphia native who pitched at Chestnut Hill Academy and the University of Delaware before spending parts of seven seasons in the majors with Arizona and Cleveland. He earned a World Series ring with the Diamondbacks in 2001.

Koplove spent six seasons on the scouting staff of the Anaheim Angels before joining his hometown team as a special assignment scout prior to the 2018 season.

Conner is a longtime Phillies scout who has risen to the role of national scouting coordinator. He was influential in identifying Cole Hamels as having first-round potential and staying on the pitcher after he broke his left arm the summer after his sophomore year.

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At The Yard podcast: Phillies' manager search could be quick

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At The Yard podcast: Phillies' manager search could be quick

Jim Salisbury and Corey Seidman discuss the Phillies' managerial search, which began in earnest Monday, on the latest At The Yard podcast.

• Phillies' busy day Monday in New York with Showalter & Girardi.

• Are inexperienced managers definitely out of the conversation?

• Why the fan preference is definitely Girardi.

• Is Phillies job better than Mets job? Better than Cubs job?

• What to make of Gabe Kapler immediately getting 2 interviews.

• Odubel Herrera's future.

• Phillies' future at 2B

• Why we might see a stop-gap third baseman in 2020.

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Apple Podcasts / Google Play / Spotify / Stitcher / Art19

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Phillies