It was “Aaron Nola Day” once again, and this time he was entrusted to help guide the Philadelphia Phillies to their ninth win in a row. That was a tough ask to begin with as their opponent was the Los Angeles Dodgers, and their new acquisition Max Scherzer was taking the mound.
For all the ups and downs Nola has experienced in 2021, he apparently understood what was on the line on Tuesday. Before the one hour and 44 minute rain delay, Nola pitched four scoreless innings with seven strikeouts. He only needed 50 pitches to get it done and he was looking like the Aaron Nola of old.
Aaron Nola, K'ing the Side.— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 10, 2021
7Ks thru 3. pic.twitter.com/A0oEkq0bTm
Scherzer looked equally as good and for four innings it seemed like an old school pitching duel was about to go down between Nola and Scherzer like it was 2018. Instead, a massive cell of thunderstorms rolled through town and put a damper on the game that would last 104 minutes.
By the time it was over, Nola and Scherzer were done for the evening and the Phillies turned to JD Hammer. As if the flood gates hadn’t already been released, Hammer gave up a solo shot to Corey Seager in the fifth, and it was only a precursor of what was to come.
Corey Seager's first HR since returning from the IL gives LA the lead!— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) August 11, 2021
(via @Dodgers) pic.twitter.com/m52S2eHafp
Matt Moore took over for Philadelphia in the sixth and gave up three more runs to make the score 4-0. Moore has been on a downward trajectory, one that saw his demotion from the rotation to the bullpen. The fact he was unable to finish the inning and left the game to a serenade of boos from the fans won’t help to rectify his image (or performance).
The Phillies had their best chance of the night to make it a game in the bottom of the sixth inning. Odubel Herrera and Jean Segura both found their way on base with no outs. However, Bryce Harper, JT Realmuto and Brad Miller went down in order to end the threat.
The Phillies were never ever able to crawl their way back into this game the way they have done so many times since the All-Star break.
Instead, Max Muncy added on to the score when he launched a solo home run off of Llovera (the fact he was pitching is a decent indicator of how well the game was going) to make it 5-0 in the ninth.
The rain was a tough break for Philadelphia. And while each team had to face the same situation, it was unfortunate for the Phillies considering how well Nola was pitching. This Dodgers lineup is absolutely brutal, but the way Nola was able to navigate it with ease, precision, and lethality was incredibly promising to watch given his season.
Nola was giving the Phillies every opportunity to not just stay in the game, but win it. There can’t be enough said about the momentum this team had built over the last eight games and the effort Nola was putting forth to ensure it continued. The rain delay killed every bit of that.
the rain did this pic.twitter.com/DgaIznOp3f— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) August 11, 2021
They will try again tomorrow.