Nola's confidence in 'special' Phillies team gets us excited for Opening Day

Aaron Nola thinks this Phillies team is special and says they have the same goal as last year: going back to the World Series.
Philadelphia Phillies starter Aaron Nola thinks this Phillies team is special and has a chance to go back to the World Series
Philadelphia Phillies starter Aaron Nola thinks this Phillies team is special and has a chance to go back to the World Series / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages
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Aaron Nola put together a tremendous start in his first game of spring training when the Philadelphia Phillies nearly combined for a no-hitter against the New York Yankees last Sunday. The veteran righty tossed two innings without allowing a hit or a walk while striking out three on 33 pitches.

After his start, Nola spoke with the media about the team's goals heading into the 2024 season.

"We know each other off the field and on the field, so we know how to play with each other really well," said Nola. "We know how good this team is and what we're capable of doing. Obviously, we've come up short the past two years. We know and have the confidence to get back to where we were, obviously the goal is to win a World Series."

"I think it's special these days to have a team like this and to have a lot of the same guys," Nola added. "It makes it more fun."

Nola, who signed a seven-year, $172 million deal to remain with the Phillies this offseason, comes into this season with the free agency process behind him and is happy to remain in a Phillies uniform where he has spent his entire professional career.

"Obviously [I] started my career here and definitely was looking to end it here," added Nola. "And I'm grateful that that happened. I love it here. I love the city. I've become accustomed to it since I came up."

Pitching coach Caleb Cotham says Nola has made the right adjustments

One of the reasons for Aaron Nola's inconsistent 2023 season involved getting used to the newly implemented pitch clock. Speaking with MLB.com's Todd Zolecki, Phillies pitching coach Caleb Cotham explained the work he and Nola put into solving issues with his delivery.

“Last year, he felt like he couldn’t see where he wanted to go," said Cotham, per Zolecki. "His eyes were late. His stride was a little across his body. His upper body was a little closed off. We can see stuff like that with some of the stuff we have."

"He was watching video. I was watching video. He’s looking at the right pitch clock," Cotham continued. "So when a runner’s on base, he’s coming set, he’s looking at that clock, the hitter, the runner, the hitter, that pitch clock. So it kind of nudged [his front shoulder] this way [to the right].”

Now that Nola is more comfortable with the added challenges of the pitch clock (which is changing again), he seems ready to put together a more consistent 2024 on the mound.

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