Aaron Nola represented the Phillies well in the All-Star Game, delivering an effective inning and showing his stuff on the national stage.
Aaron Nola was selected to his first All-Star Game this year after a tremendous first half for the Phillies. He got a chance to pitch in the fifth inning, and boy did he shine.
Nola needed 15 pitches to get through the inning. He struck out Kansas City’s Salvador Perez with a simply nasty curveball to end a four-pitch at-bat. Mookie Betts went down swinging on a 96 mph fastball up and in to end a seven-pitch at-bat.
Getting Betts to strike out was an especially noteworthy feat: he has just 42 in 355 plate appearances this season. Betts has been utterly dominant at the plate, posting a .359/.448/.691 line with 23 home runs, 79 runs scored, and 51 runs batted in.
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The only hit Nola allowed in the inning was to 2017 AL MVP Jose Altuve, who is hitting .332 this year, on the first pitch he saw. If Nola was going to give up a hit to anyone, let it be the guy who has 200 more hits than anyone else since his debut.
This brought us to a matchup that was too good to be true: Nola vs. noted Philadelphia sports fan and perennial MVP candidate Mike Trout.
Trout, who could quite literally have the best season in baseball history, homered earlier in the game against Jacob deGrom. Nola had no trouble dealing with Trout, forcing him to foul out on a 94 mph.
Nola proved exactly why he is considered an ace, rising to the occasion against some of the best players in baseball. Those around the league got to see exactly how good Nola’s pitches can be:
Just for comparison’s sake, fellow Cy Young competitor Max Scherzer struck out four in two innings but also allowed two hits and a walk, including a home run to Aaron Judge. deGrom, the other NL Cy Young competitor, gave up the aforementioned home run to Trout. I don’t wanna say Nola will win the Cy Young because of this – just kidding, I so do.
It was a great performance for Nola in his first All-Star Game, and it shouldn’t be his last either.