It sounds silly to say a pitcher who gave up five runs over six innings pitched well but Aaron Nola didn’t pitch particularly bad either Friday night against the Cincinnati Reds. He retired ten straight batters after giving up three runs, including two solo home runs, in the first two innings.
He seemed to be on cruise control when he got Joey Votto to pop out on the first pitch to start the sixth. Then he ran into trouble, giving up two more runs to give the Reds an insurmountable 5-0 lead. It’s certainly not the night the Phils were hoping for after his one-run performance against Pittsburgh but it’s all relative with this team. It seems as if any pitcher that can go six innings without completely unraveling is a win these days.
No matter how many time Pete Mackanin tries to shuffle the lineup, the the offense seems to be getting worse. Reds pitcher Tim Adleman, who came into the game with an ERA over six, limited the Phils to just one hit over eight innings. He retired the order five times – 16 straight – before walking Andres Blanco in the seventh inning.
The Phils showed some life in the bottom of the ninth, scoring two runs off of Raisel Iglesias with help from a Votto error. Maikel Franco went 0-4 and left five guys on base, striking out with runners on second and third to end the game.
Odubel Herrera, who was bumped up to the leadoff spot in hopes to spark a turnaround, was 1-4. Again, on paper it sounds like a s0-so night but he made hard contact on two pitches for outs and a one-out double in the ninth. Considering he struck out five times on Thursday, this was an improvement.
One bright side – the bullpen seems to have figured things out, racking up 16-straight scoreless innings. Mark Leiter and Joely Rodriguez came in relief of Nola.
Is it June yet?