I’m not going to beat around the bush: this game sucked. The Phillies managed just two runs. The first one came in the first inning, when Peter Bourjos tripled and Maikel Franco singled him home. The second came in the ninth inning, when Carlos Ruiz, who had been hit by a pitch, scored on a Cesar Hernandez single. (Incidentally, Peter Bourjos is still absolutely en fuego. He was 2-for-4 today, and his average is up to .267.)
But there is one positive thing to take away from this crappy game: Aaron Nola started to look a little bit more like himself. You might look at the score and wonder how that could be true. But I promise you that it is.
Nola spent the majority of his pitches in the first and second inning. And the second inning is what got him. He gave up all five runs in that inning, which kept getting progressively worse. Two Royals players singled off Nola back-to-back, and then after a forceout another single scored a run. A flyout came next, followed by yet another run scoring single.
There were two outs, and Nola was almost out of it. But this is where the wheels fell off the cart. Kendrys Morales, who has been on an absolute tear lately, holy crap, jacked a three-run homer. That put up a total of five runs in the second inning, and it looked like the old Aaron Nola was still on vacation, or trapped under a rock, or being kept prisoner by Adam Morgan. But something happened after he finished the inning. Maybe he freed himself from Adam Morgan’s mind prison, or something, but when he came back out for the third, he looked more like the original Nola than we’ve seen in weeks. He retired the next nine batters he faced until he was through five innings. With his spot coming up in the bottom of the inning, Pete Mackanin decided that it was a great time to take him out of the game. I couldn’t have agreed more. (I know Pete is relieved to know that I agree with him there.)
Whatever else you take from this game, Aaron Nola found a little bit of himself today. The Phillies lost, but hopefully what happened today was the end of Bad Nola and the return of the Nola of Yore.