Phillies tab Aaron Nola for World Series Game 1 start against Astros

The Phillies have named Aaron Nola as their Game 1 World Series starter.

The Philadelphia Phillies have named their World Series starter for Game 1 on Friday against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park — and it is not Zack Wheeler. According to MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, manager Rob Thomson will instead turn to Aaron Nola.

Wheeler — who allowed a pair of runs, three hits and no walks across six strong innings during Sunday’s National League Championship Series clincher over the San Diego Padres — will follow Nola in the rotation for World Series Game 2 on Saturday.

Nola will start on eight days of rest, as he last pitched in the NLCS Game 2’s 8-5 defeat — when in 4 2/3 innings, he uncharacteristically yielded seven hits, six runs, and a pair of home runs. The right-hander had posted a perfect 0.00 ERA and 0.724 WHIP — including an impressive 21-to-3 strikeouts-to-walks ratio — across his previous three starts.

The first of those three outings came on October 3 — when Nola tossed 6 2/3 innings, yielding just two hits while striking out nine, opposite the Astros. The game secured the team’s first postseason berth since the 2011 season — while helping to avoid a must-win scenario in one of the two final games of the regular season.

A little more than three weeks later, Nola will look to repeat his performance against the Astros and help the Phillies start out the 2022 World Series on the right foot.

Nola also shined in Game 2 of the Wild Card series clincher against the St. Louis Cardinals (6 2/3 innings, zero earned runs), as well as Game 3 of the NLDS against the Atlanta Braves (6 innings, 1 unearned run). While Nola’s NLCS Game 2 start was disappointing, hopefully, the eight days of rest will bode well for the right-hander.

It is still surreal that the Phillies are just one of two Major League Baseball teams remaining in World Series contention. The Phillies will seek their third championship (1980, 2008), whereas the Astros will seek their second following their controversial 2017 title.