Final: Phillies 2 Braves 0
As the calendar turns to July, the Philadelphia Phillies (45-40) once again are in Atlanta, playing perhaps the most crucial series of the season. The last time the Phillies visited Atlanta, they laid an egg. A position player was the team’s best pitcher in a 15-1 spanking in the series finale. Things were a little different Monday evening.
The offense wasn’t exactly rolling tonight against the Braves newest pitcher, Dallas Keuchel, but it didn’t matter as Aaron Nola was in tip-top form against a surging Atlanta lineup. Tonight’s 2-0 victory against the Atlanta Braves (50-36) puts the Phillies within four-and-a-half games of first place in the National League East and sets up an opportunity for Philadelphia to take the series and gain even more ground against their bitter division rivals.
With the off day yesterday, manager Gabe Kapler opted to shift around the rotation and give Nola two more starts before the All-Star Break. That meant he would face Keuchel in tonight’s game. The matchup of Nola vs. Keuchel was billed as a must-see matchup and the two did not disappoint. Nola thrived on the outside corner and Keuchel was able to get Phillies hitters out early in the count and keep his pitch count down.
The Phillies were able to figure out Keuchel despite struggling to get much going through three. In the fourth, Jay Bruce jumped on a middle-in slider, scoring Jean Segura from second and J.T. Realmuto from first on a two-run RBI double.
An opportunity to double the lead arose three innings later. After a Rhys Hoskins walk, Realmuto, the Phillies lone All-Star representative, notched an opposite-field double to the wall in right field, setting up second and third with nobody out. Both Bruce and Cesar Hernandez grounded out to end the threat for the visiting side.
Not much else was going offensively for the Phillies. It didn’t matter, though, because Nola was brilliant.
Hector Neris came in for the close and as it turned out, Bruce’s two-run double was all that was needed to grab a much-needed victory against the Braves. The Phillies will send Nick Pivetta to the mound Wednesday and try to claim a series victory.
Shibe Vintage Sports Starting Pitching Performance
8.0 IP 4H 0R 0ER 8K 117 pitches (career high)
7.0 IP 5H 2R 2ER 2BB 3K 97 pitches
Phillies Nuggets Player of the Game: Aaron Nola
It’s well known that the Baton Rouge native loves pitching in hot weather. Today’s conditions were perfect for Nola to prove he’s capable of consistently performing at the level he was at in 2018, weather aside. Against the division leader with a red-hot lineup, Nola was spectacular. He threw a career-high 117 pitches through eight. His fastball command was spot on and overall, a surging Braves lineup looked clueless:
Aaron Nola’s fastball command is back!
— Phillies Nation (@PhilliesNation) July 3, 2019
After today’s game, Nola’s ERA has dipped to 3.89.
Ticket IQ Next Game
- Wednesday July 3rd at 7:20 P.M. @ Atlanta Braves
- NBC Sports Philadelphia
- SportsRadio 94 WIP; WTTM 1680 (Spanish)