Five things learned about the Phillies after yet another series loss
By John Town
Aaron Nola can’t pitch on Sept. 2nd
Gabe Kapler altered the rotation order this weekend so Aaron Nola would pitch Sunday, moving Vince Velasquez back to Monday. The move put Nola on the mound against Jon Lester and the Cubs, more formidable opponents compared to Jose Urena and the Marlins. At the surface, it seemingly wasn’t a big deal.
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As it turns out, having Nola start on Sept. 2 is not a good idea. He has pitched on that date in 2015, 2017, and now 2018. As Ben Harris of the Athletic pointed out, Nola has allowed two or more home runs in each one of those starts. In 2015, Nola surrendered six runs on nine hits over four innings in a 9-4 loss to the Mets. Last year, Nola gave up six runs again, this time on 10 hits and a walk. The Phillies ultimately lost that game 10-9 to the Marlins.
This year, while Nola’s start was certainly better, it was still poor by his standards. He allowed four runs over 5.2 innings, including three solo home runs. Coming into the game, he had given up just three home runs over his last 85 innings pitched.
It was just the third time all season Nola gave up four runs. His 11 strikeouts were certainly a bright spot, but the bad start still puts a dent in his Cy Young campaign with such a close race.
Even after the bad start, Nola still has a 2.23 ERA, 2.76 fielding-independent pitching, and 3.83 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 181.2 innings this season. He is having one of the best seasons of any Phillies pitcher in the 21st century, even with this start in the books.