Aaron Nola shuts down Cardinals as Phillies sweep Wild Card Series
The Philadelphia Phillies shut out the St. Louis Cardinals, 2-0, on Saturday night to advance to the National League Division Series. Bryce Harper’s second-inning solo home run — followed by Kyle Schwarber’s fifth-inning sacrifice fly RBI — were all the runs the Phillies needed in the series-clincher.
While many players on the team had no previous postseason experience entering the series, that did not show in the weekend victories. The Phillies advancing would not be possible without stellar efforts from their starting pitchers — Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola.
Combined, the right-handers tossed 13 scoreless innings, allowing only six hits and two walks while striking out 10 batters.
Nola led the Phillies to a series win going 6 2/3 innings, yielding just four hits and a walk while punching out six Cardinals batters — including future Hall of Fame slugger Albert Pujols in the final game of his Major League Baseball career.
Despite doubts about the Phillies right-hander not being able to come through in big games in the past, Nola has shown up to be a big-game pitcher as of late. He has “steadied the ship” and shown that he is a reliable pitcher in crucial moments. In his last 18 2/3 innings pitched, Nola has surrendered only four earned runs while recording 25 strikeouts.
The Phillies will need the rest of their starting rotation and bullpen — which allowed a combined three runs on six hits and three walks in the Wild Card Series — to step up in the upcoming National League Division Series against the Atlanta Braves. Ranger Suarez is currently tabbed as the Game 1 probable starter for Tuesday’s series opener at Truist Park.