The last time Aaron Nola took the mound, six days ago at home against the Miami Marlins, the Phillies were scuffling. The team had dropped five straight games behind poor offensive and pitching performances.
Nola responded by pitching a gem, striking out 10 and allowing just one earned run in eight innings — and yet he still got the loss, as the Phillies offense scored just a single run.
The 26-year-old right-hander gets the start at Citizens Bank Park on Thursday afternoon hoping to make it two straight stellar outings and a four-game sweep of the struggling New York Mets (37-44).
The Phillies’ offense has been heating up, especially in key spots. That offense has propelled the Phillies (42-38) to three straight wins after the desolation of a seven-game losing streak. Last night’s 10-inning win over the Mets was the first Phillies’ first walk-off win of the 2019 season.
Nola (6-2, 4.55 ERA) has not pitched to the level of excellence that he produced a year ago, but he can bank on last Friday’s start and use it to kick-start a sustained streak of which he’s more than capable. If the Phillies bats pick him up this time in Game 81 of 162, it’ll go a long way.
Here’s everything you need to know ahead of this afternoon’s Phillies-Mets tilt:
- Scott Kingery, CF
- Jean Segura, SS
- Bryce Harper, RF
- Rhys Hoskins, 1B
- Jay Bruce, LF
- Cesar Hernandez, 2B
- Maikel Franco, 3B
- Andrew Knapp, C
- Aaron Nola, P
- Jeff McNeil, 2B
- Pete Alonso, 1B
- Michael Conforto, RF
- Todd Frazier, 3B
- Dominic Smith, LF
- Wilson Ramos, C
- Amed Rosario, SS
- Juan Lagares, CF
- Zack Wheeler, P
Shibe Vintage Sports Starting Pitching Matchup
- Zack Wheeler (6-5, 4.69 ERA and 3.73 FIP) vs. Aaron Nola (6-2, 4.55 ERA and 4.40 FIP)
- Wheeler’s last three starts have included some of the toughest assignments in MLB. The 29-year-old right-hander (he bats left-handed) has faced the high-powered Yankees, Braves and Cubs — all on the road. Wheeler turned in a poor outing against the Bronx Bombers (five runs in 4.2 innings) and wasn’t stellar in Atlanta (four runs in six innings) but baffled the Cubs at Wrigley Field for just one run in seven innings on Saturday. He’s a coveted trade target, and just may be dealt in advance of the July 31 MLB trade deadline.
- Nola pitched well enough to win in his last outing last Friday against the Marlins at CBP, but the Phillies managed just one run and left him on the hook for the loss. He pitched eight innings in that game in what was his longest start of 2019, striking out 10 and allowing just one earned run. If Nola can repeat — or even approximate — that performance Thursday, it’ll be another step in the right direction for the right-hander as he tries to recover the consistent All-Star form shown last season. Nola has received over six runs per game in support, so hopefully the Phillies’ offense can stay functional again to help carry the day.
Pregame Phillies Nuggets
- The Phillies are 6-3 against the Mets this season, tying their best winning percentage against any opponent in 2019.
- Canó went 0-for-5 for the second straight night out of the 3-spot in the Mets batting order. The veteran second baseman continues a disappointing first season with the club, slashing at the .223/.271/.360 mark.
- Alonso has been a revelation as a leading NL Rookie of the Year contender. However, to this point the 24-year-old slugging first baseman average against the Phillies, the lone NL East opponent against whom he hasn’t homered. Alonso owns a slash line of just .258/.395/.323 against the Phillies this year.
- Hoskins has registered a hit, walk, or both in a dozen straight games. With a .396 on-base percentage, Hoskins has become much more consistent in his third big-league season.
- Bruce has 20 RBI with the Phillies in his first 19 games since joining the club on June 3.
- Citizens Bank Park at 1:05 p.m. EDT
- NBC Sports Philadelphia; MLB Network (out-of-market only)
- SportsRadio 94 WIP
MORE FROM PHILLIES NATION:
- Gabe Kapler: “I can’t and won’t manage based on online polls”
- Matt Klentak stands by Gabe Kapler and the coaching staff
- ‘The Phillies Got A Gem:’ Former coaches laud first-round draft pick Bryson Stott
- Joe Girardi offers nuanced take on Kapler-Segura situation
- Klentak: “We need to assume that we’re not going to have Odubel Herrera anytime soon”
- Flashback: The time Gabe Kapler had to be pinch-run for in the middle of a home run