This isn’t how it’s supposed to be done. You’re not supposed to fall into a big hole before storming back for a huge win. But that’s apparently become the Phillies’ thing. For the third time this month - and second time this week - the Phillies overcame an early six-run hole to emerge victorious. On Thursday, despite a poor start by Aaron Nola, the offense was able to bring the team back and earn a 12-6 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
This was the second time this month that Aaron Nola has put the team in a 0-6 hole, only for the offense to bring them back. I’m not sure why Nola getting roughed up seems to fire up the offense. To be honest, I don’t want to find out, because I’d like it to stop.
In the second inning, Nola played the “hits:”
So let’s see…Nola once again has problems with:— Smarty Jones Esq. (@TheSmartyJones) September 23, 2021
Runners on base
This feels like it should be fixable and yet here we are
He loaded the bases on two singles and a walk, but with two outs, he had opposing pitcher Connor Overton at the plate. Overton came into the game with zero career hits, so when the count got to 0-2, that should have been it.
The next pitch was hit to left field, and Andrew McCutchen should have had a play on it, but he seemed just as shocked as the rest of us that Nola would give Overton an even remotely-hittable pitch.
Nola could have minimized the damage by getting the next batter. Instead, he did this:
He gave up another home run the following inning, and based on my Twitter feed, most fans had given up on the game (and the season). But they forgot two important things: The Phillies have a knack for winning games like this, and Pirates are a really bad team.
Didi Gregorius’ leadoff home run sparked a five-run third inning that got the Phillies right back in it. In the sixth, Ronald Torreyes put them in front:
J.T. Realmuto added to the lead with a two-run home run in the seventh, and an RBI single in the eighth. All of a sudden, Realmuto is hot, and has been making teams pay for pitching around Bryce Harper.
To his credit, Nola was able to rebound from that awful start. He lasted six innings, giving the overworked bullpen a slight break. He even earned a win for his effort!
Combined with the Braves’ come-from-ahead loss earlier in the day, the Phillies are now two games off the division lead. The Braves have a doubleheader on Friday, so the Phillies could potentially make up a game and a half in the standings. Normally, I’d say it would be beneficial if Friday’s starter Kyle Gibson doesn’t put them in an early hole, but based on how this month has gone, I’m not entirely sure that’s true.