Phillies: Aaron Nola is “tired,” but so are the excuses

Aug 27, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Aaron Nola (27) throws a pitch against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 27, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Aaron Nola (27) throws a pitch against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /
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Phillies starter Aaron Nola says he’s “tired”

Longtime Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Aaron Nola must dread the calendar changing from August to September, and the narrative that comes with it.

Since 2019, he has a 5.37 ERA across 12 September starts, and it wasn’t much better on Thursday, when he allowed all six of the Nationals runs in his first start of the month.

At the time, the Phillies were scoreless and had not yet made their historic comeback.

Nola’s comments after the game didn’t do much to evoke sympathy:

"“I try to pitch as best I can no matter what month it is.I’ve been hearing it about it from all different angles about September, and honestly, I’m kind of tired of it.”"

While it’s understandable that Nola is tired of this narrative, it’s not something people pulled out of thin air. Numbers don’t lie.

It’s also not a year in which Nola has much of a leg to stand on outside of September. He’s ranged from mediocre to awful most of the season.

Over 27 starts, he has a 4.54 ERA, with 186 strikeouts over 152 2/3 innings. He’s dangerously close to matching or surpassing his worst single-season ERA (4.78). His strikeout rate is down, while his hits per nine is the highest it’s been since 2017, and his home runs per nine is at a new career-high. He’s allowed four or more earned runs in 11 of his starts, three or more in 15 of them. He’s only managed four shutout starts, less than one per month of the season.

Aaron Nola has not endeared himself to Phillies fans this season

There’s also the matter of his comments about getting vaccinated, or rather, not. After saying it was a personal decision, he was mocked by fans who made jokes about how it was their personal decision to say he ‘sucked’ this season.

They’re not wrong.

Days later, he missed playing time when he landed on the COVID-related IL after coming in close contact with Alec Bohm, who tested positive.

When Nola’s manager was asked about his rough start on Thursday, Joe Girardi wasn’t as harsh as he likely would’ve been had his team not pulled off the epic victory:

"“We talk about it every year, but he has to find a way to get through this and do this job like he’s capable of doing.We know he can be outstanding. He can just as easily run off five really good starts for us.”"

Nola will make a few more starts before the month is up, but as “tired” as he is, his team needs him to change the narrative.

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