3) Blame Phillies pitcher Aaron Nola for falling so far behind the Braves
If you’re having doubts about whether or not the Phillies should sign Aaron Nola to an extension or even re-sign him after he hits free agency, you’re not alone. His career has been an up-and-down one. Only once in his career has the first number of his ERA ever matched what it was the season prior. He’ll have a season in the 3.00s and see it fall to the 4.00s or as it did in 2018 drop as low as 2.37.
Nola is 4-3 with a 4.59 ERA after his first 11 starts for the 2023 season. His 7.9 strikeouts per 9 is alarmingly low for a guy who has averaged a solid 10 in his career. The Phillies needed Nola to be the co-ace alongside Zack Wheeler. He has been much more average. He’s a big reason why the team is chasing the Braves instead of the other way around.
Nola hasn’t had a game yet this year where he managed to throw up a zero. His 8-inning gem against the Houston Astros is easily his best. A solo home run was all they could get across the board versus Nola that time around.
The one great attribute Nola continues to offer this team is the ability to go late into games. Unfortunately, they’re just 5-6 in his outings so aside from saving us from the bullpen there isn’t much of a benefit.