Aaron Nola looks to help Phillies regain series lead before home fans

Aaron Nola #27 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Aaron Nola #27 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

Aaron Nola will look to lead the Phillies to a 2-1 series advantage on Friday.

The Philadelphia Phillies lost 3-0 to the Atlanta Braves Wednesday night — evening the series at one win apiece. Manager Rob Thomson’s squad struggled to get baserunners, despite hitting the ball hard a few times.

The Braves, meanwhile, scored all of their runs in the sixth inning after Ronald Acuña Jr. was hit by a pitch and Dansby Swanson followed with a walk. Next came Matt Olson — who hit a ball that got by Phillies first baseman Rhys Hoskins to score Acuña. Another run came home on an Austin Riley infield single. The game’s final run was scored on a Travis d’Arnaud single up the middle.

The Phillies will look to regain the edge in the series late Friday afternoon in the Phillies franchise’s first home postseason game in more than a decade. The club — which last played at home on Sunday, September 25 — will turn to Aaron Nola to lead the way. The Braves have not yet announced who will start, but one potential option is former Phillies right-hander Charlie Morton.

It seems that every time Nola takes the mound, he is appearing in a bigger game than the last. That is because he is. Two starts ago, the Phillies trusted him to shut down the American League juggernaut Houston Astros. In that game, Nola went 6 2/3 scoreless innings — taking a perfect game into the seventh inning. He struck out nine batters and gave up just two hits. The Phillies clinched a postseason berth after this start.

In his most recent outing, Nola, pitched 6 2/3 shutout innings against the St. Louis Cardinals in his first career postseason start — advancing the Phillies to the NLDS and securing their first postseason series win since 2010.

Nola has given fans reason to believe in his big-game potential. His ascension as a bona fide big-league ace — in the most important games of his career — has tossed aside the tired, old story of him choking when it matters.

Nola has stepped up at the biggest time of his career. While he has been here through some bad times and has pitched on some lackluster Phils teams, he finally has had the chance to prove that he is a big-game pitcher.

The Phillies starter will look to continue to prove that he is capable of pitching in the biggest situations. Friday will once again be the “biggest game” of Nola’s career as he pitches in what is sure to be an electric atmosphere in South Philadelphia.

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