In spite of his struggles this year, the Phillies typically have the advantage—at least on paper—when Aaron Nola takes the mound. Today, that wasn’t the case. He started opposite left-hander Jesús Luzardo, who entered Sunday tied for 5th in baseball in strikeouts.
Luzardo obliterated the first three Phillies he faced, and it immediately became evident that the visitors would need Good Nola to send them into the All-Star break on a high note. Instead, they got anything but. After retiring Luis Arraez and Jorge Soler without much trouble, the batting practice began.
When you're facing one of the most free-swinging teams in baseball, these are probably not wise places to put a baseball early in the count.— Alex Carr (@AlexCarrMLB) July 9, 2023
This enigma of a year for Aaron Nola continues. pic.twitter.com/mr9yo9muFo
Bryan De La Cruz ripped a double and Jesús Sánchez followed with a towering two-run homer. We didn’t need to wait long for the two-out backbreaker we’ve become so accustomed to seeing from Nola.
Things unraveled even further in the third inning. Dane Myers poked his first career home run, and he didn’t even get nearly as much of this meatball as he probably should’ve.
Dane Myers first career home run! pic.twitter.com/KTsDRRJorp— Isaac Azout (@IsaacAzout) July 9, 2023
Nola retired Arraez and Soler yet again before serving up another pitch that caught the entirety of the plate.
Bryan De La Cruz with the Marlins 3rd HR of the game.— Louis Addeo-Weiss (@addeo_louis00) July 9, 2023
It's the 3rd inning. pic.twitter.com/M2aw68HoGi
Alec Bohm booted a routine grounder that would have ended the inning, and as free baserunners so often do, Sanchez came around to score after singles by Garrett Cooper and Jean Segura.
The Phillies cut into the 5-0 lead in the fifth thanks to Edmundo Sosa’s sixth blast of the year.
1 through 5 in the Phillies order finished 0-14 against Luzardo with 7 strikeouts. Excellent pitching has bailed out the lineup’s mediocrity during this hot streak, but there is no excuse for it not to be significantly better as the summer continues.
Luzardo was pulled in the seventh after only 83 pitches, perhaps as a result of some back-and-forth with the Phillies dugout after drilling Bryson Stott with a sinker. He was masterful all afternoon, conceding only 4 hits and a single walk in 6.1 innings of two-run, nine-strikeout ball.
Nola pushed through 6 innings, finishing with a deceptively decent line of 4 earned runs. It’s unfair to pin the loss squarely on him, but the Phillies need much more from him after the break as well. He now leads baseball in home runs allowed.
Miami added a run off Matt Strahm and another off Gregory Soto. That insurance proved unnecessary, even after Dylan Floro gave one back in the ninth.
The Phillies (48-41) dropped a series to the Marlins for the second time this year, the gap between the two clubs in the Wild Card race widening by a game. Both will take the week off as All-Star festivities begin Monday.