It was important for the Phillies to put Monday’s loss behind them. It was ugly, yes, but they had to move on quickly. With the calendar flipping to September, the chances of eeking out wins is dwindling, so if a loss occurs, it’s best to just get right to the next game and do what you can. Having Aaron Nola on the hill would help, especially still riding high from a shutout against Cincinnati where he looked as dominant as he did, would help morale as they prepared.
It didn’t matter.
The Diamondbacks did to Nola what the Phillies did to Madison Bumgarner, spending what few innings Nola was on the hill thumping each pitch he left in the strikezone. It led to another frustrating late season performance from Nola, another question mark as his most dreaded mark prepares to begin and leaves certain pockets of the fanbase in a bit of peril.
Arizona came out swinging yet again, using a five run second inning to help their cause. Christian Walker began to inning with a double into the corner, then scored on a single by Corbin Carroll, the Diamondbacks’ highly touted prospect. When Alek Thomas doubled in the next at bat, Carroll got a chance to show off his speed, scoring from first rather easily and making it 2-0.
Corbin Carroll is really REALLY fast! pic.twitter.com/BfIqNx1kc9— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) August 31, 2022
Carson Kelly singled to put men on the corners, then Geraldo Perdomo bunted to give them their third run. Nola would strike out the next hitter, lending hope that he’d be able to wiggle his way out of further damage, but Jake McCarthy tripled in the next two runners, ending the barrage at 5-0.
McCarthy would get three more RBI in the fourth when he drilled a Nola pitch into the right field stands for a three-run home run, making it 8-0 and effectively ending Nola’s evening.
In the fifth, shoddy defense from Garrett Stubbs allowed the leadoff hitter in Thomas to begin the inning standing on third base, who then scored on a sacrifice fly by Perdomo to make the score 9-0. The Phillies would get a bit of offense going in the eighth when Stubbs walked with two outs, Matt Vierling singled, bringing up Brandon Marsh. Marsh hasn’t given them a ton of offense yet as a member of the Phillies, but here, he knew what to do with a hanging slider.
Maybe a little momentum going into the next game?
No thank you.
Nick Maton came on to pitch in the eighth, which means runs for the Diamondbacks - three, to be exact - and the horror show was over. Another loss in the desert, another game lost in the wild card standings.
The offense didn’t do much, but the more concerning part of the night was Nola. Now, he’s been excellent this season, so there isn’t much to complain about. What is concerning is that he has one more demon to exorcise and that is how badly he has pitched late in seasons. With September coming, this start doesn’t do much to quell the trepidation people have about him pitching during that month. The team needs him to be excellent these last few starts and if they continue to get clunkers like this, there’s going to have to be questions answered. There shouldn’t be much doubt that he’ll be just fine after this start, but it is difficult to not gesture at his past and think that the pattern will continue. We’ll just have to wait and see.