Biggest Philadelphia Phillies winners and losers in May

May 12, 2022; Los Angeles, California, USA; Philadelphia Phillies right fielder Bryce Harper (3) watches the flight of the ball on a solo home run in the first inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
May 12, 2022; Los Angeles, California, USA; Philadelphia Phillies right fielder Bryce Harper (3) watches the flight of the ball on a solo home run in the first inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports /
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Aaron Nola, Phillies
May 26, 2022; Cumberland, Georgia, USA; Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Aaron Nola (27) pitches against the Atlanta Braves during the first inning at Truist Park. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /

Winner: Aaron Nola

Aaron Nola is in a contract year and he’s pitching like he wants to get paid. The soon-to-be-29-year-old pitched well in April (five starts, 3.90 ERA) and even better in May (five starts, 3.27 ERA).

A few things stand out about Nola’s improvement in May. He pitched more innings than in April, a sign of improvement upon one of the main critiques about his 2021 performance, as he often failed to go deep into games; 13 of his 32 starts were five innings or less and only five were seven innings or more. In his last start of May, Nola pitched 8+ innings for the first time since August 21, 2021. He only had three starts of 8+ innings last season.

While Nola allowed more hits in May, he allowed the same number of earned runs in both months (12) and one less home run. Opposing batters’ OPS against him fell by nearly 100 points, and their on-base and slugging percentages also decreased substantially.

Nola’s only shutout start of the season came in April, but on the whole, his May was markedly better. Too bad the same can’t be said for his team.

Loser: James Norwood

Joe Girardi’s bullpen management has been questioned a lot over the last few weeks, and it’s hard to tell exactly how much of the bullpen’s struggles are due to his leadership, and how much is actually failed execution.

James Norwood has struggled more than almost anyone on the pitching staff. He finished April in excellent standing; six of his seven appearances were shutouts, and in five of them, opponents did not record a hit or draw a walk. He only allowed two earned runs on April 18, making his ERA for the month a respectable 2.82.

In May, he fell apart. Over his first two appearances, he allowed a combined six earned runs and only recorded one out in each. Dating back to May 17, he’s allowed runs in three of five appearances. While he struck out 13 batters over a total of eight innings in May, his ERA is 12.38 over 10 games. Home runs aren’t his issue; he only allowed two of them. The clear difference between Norwood’s April and May is more hits and walks. He allowed 15 hits and issued six walks in the latter month.

Unsurprisingly, Girardi hasn’t used him since Saturday, May 28.

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