5 early Phillies spring training overreactions after the first two weeks of play

Spring training is well underway, and with so much happening on the field, now's the best time to completely overreact.

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Aaron Nola has been inconsistent in spring training so far
Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Aaron Nola has been inconsistent in spring training so far / Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
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Aaron Nola will have another up-and-down season

Aaron Nola, the longest-tenured Phillie, signed a seven-year contract worth $172 million this offseason and with that comes high expectations. Over the last few years, Nola has come to be known for his inconsistency on the mound. He’ll go out and throw eight shutout innings with 10 strikeouts one night and then turn around and surrender five runs in five innings the next start.

In 2023, Nola ended the year with a 4.46 ERA, 1.151 WHIP, and just 9.4 strikeouts per nine innings. Not numbers that scream "ace."

The hope is that with a new guaranteed contract for seven years, he’ll be able to settle in and perform at his highest level more consistently. However, his first two starts in spring training look to be more of the same as last year.

In his first start, Nola was terrific, throwing two scoreless innings, striking out three and allowing no hits and no walks. His accuracy was in mid-season form, throwing 20 strikes out of 33 total pitches. But his second start didn’t go as well. He went three innings, surrendering four runs on seven hits with zero walks, but he hit one batter.

In Thursday's start, Nola's third of the spring, he had a rough first inning, giving up three runs on four hits. Luckily, he settled down and retired seven of the next nine batters he faced, finishing his 3 2/3 innings with five strikeouts.

The Phillies need Nola to step up and be one of the top pitchers, as they expect from him after handing him a major deal. However, his first couple of starts of spring training don’t bode well for the 2024 season.

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