One day after playing what was, perhaps, their best game all season, the Phillies played an absolute stinker.
Aaron Nola was fine – 5 IP, 3 ER, 6 K, 0 BB, 0 HR – and if this wasn’t September and if Nola hadn’t been struggling all season there would be nothing to complain about. But within the context of “2021 Nola” and “September Nola”, this felt like yet another disappointing outing. In the bottom of the third, Nola seemed to forget how to put hitters away, and he allowed five straight hits which lead to three earned runs. Typical inning for 2021 Nola.
If I recall correctly, T-Mac said on the broadcast that it was the longest inning pitch-wise of Nola’s career. That’s not ideal. To Nola’s credit, he was able to right the ship and he got through the next two innings easily, but he couldn’t reverse the damage that the third inning did to his pitch count, and he had to leave after five innings.
While Nola’s ERA went up to 4.57, his fWAR also went up to 3.7, which ranks eighth among National League pitchers. His FIP, xFIP, SIERA, and K/BB all improved. His FIP ranks eleventh in the NL, his xFIP seventh, his SIERA fourth, and his K/BB third. And yet to anyone watching, it was apparant that Nola struggled through that third inning. Nola’s 2021 season just continues to be unbelievably frustrating.
Anyway, that’s enough of my rambling about last night’s game. For a more thorough game wrap-up, you can read Smarty’s recap here. And now onto the links.
- Matt Moore is moving to the bullpen, and instead of a fifth starter the Phillies will play a bullpen game every fifth day. Last night, Todd Zolecki put out a short write-up about that plan.
- Frank Schwab of Yahoo Sports wrote his daily column yesterday about how the Phillies could win the NL East. The article itself doesn't say anything new if you've been watching the Phillies all season, but it’s just fun to see someone choose to write about the Phillies when they aren’t even a Phillies reporter.
- Joe Girardi is keeping Wheeler on a 100-pitch limit (per start) for the rest of the season. Jim Salisbury explains why that’s not such a big deal.
- Matt Breen reports that Ranger Suarez is healthy despite leaving his last start early due to soreness in his triceps. He’ll start on Thursday as scheduled (Suarez, not Breen).
- Another Matt Breen piece. This one talks about Matt Vierling and provides some insight into his recent bout of success.
- Destiny Lugardo of Phillies Nation reflects on Hector Neris’ Phillies career the day after Neris recorded his 500th strikeout.
- Gerrit Cole left his start early last night with hamstring tightness. The AL Cy Young race is still wide open.
- Albert Pujols returned to St. Louis for the first time since becoming a Dodger, and he hit a home run in his first at-bat (off of former Phillie J.A. Happ). At 41 years old, the man can still rake against left-handed pitching.
- Pete Alonso became the second-fastest player to reach 100 home runs. You all know who the fastest was. (Ryan Howard. It was Ryan Howard.)
- Blake Snell has been pitching a lot better recently. Is he an ace again? Eh, I say probably not.
- Yes, those were all MLB.com links. Sorry. I’ll try to be more creative tomorrow!