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Behind Aaron Nola, Phillies go for split with Dodgers

Rain could again prove a factor on Thursday afternoon in a game that fans can only watch on the Internet via MLB’s YouTube channel. (Matt Veasey/Phillies Natio)

The previous start on the mound by Phillies ace Aaron Nola typified a painful 2019 season for the Philadelphia Phillies (49-47), who following last night’s late-night, rain delayed defeat once again find themselves on the outside looking in at the National League playoff picture.

Nola was strong against the Washington Nationals, pitching six innings without surrendering a run. But Adam Morgan allowed an unearned run, then Héctor Neris gave up a go-ahead, two-run homer to Juan Soto in the ninth, and Washington rallied for a win.

Games such as that one have been characteristic of the Phillies’ 2019 season to date. Not enough offense generated to secure a win, and the sixth-worst bullpen in all of baseball blowing a game that should have been put into the win column.

But even with painful losses like Saturday’s occurring on an all-too-regular basis, the Phillies still find themselves over the .500 mark. They remain squarely in the middle of that NL playoff race (for now, anyway), and they still have one ace to put out on the mound. Today is Nola Day.

Nola (8-2, 3.63 ERA) hasn’t produced a poor outing in over a month. On Thursday, the right-hander will have to deal with arguably the toughest lineup he’s faced in all that time. The Los Angeles Dodgers (64-34) have the best record in all of Major League Baseball and will again face the Phillies in what will be the finale of a four-game series. Nola is looking to deliver the Phillies an unlikely split.

Today’s game is different than most both in its start time (12:35 p.m.) and its TV listing: It can be seen exclusively on YouTube. The two teams wrapped up last night’s lengthy, rain-delayed game in the wee hours of the morning, actually less than 11 hours before today’s start. It will be interesting to see whether fatigue plays any role in the outcome of the contest.

Also, weather could once again prove a factor on Thursday. The forecast calls for at roughly 50% chance of showers and thunderstorms in the area. The Phillies need to hope that any rain does not drive Nola from the mound early, once again turning it into a bullpen game.

Here’s everything you need to know for today’s game…


  1. Scott Kingery CF
  2. Jean Segura, SS
  3. Bryce Harper, RF
  4. Rhys Hoskins, 1B
  5. J.T. Realmuto, C
  6. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
  7. Maikel Franco, 3B
  8. Adam Haseley, CF
  9. Nick Pivetta, P


  1. Joc Pederson, LF
  2. Alex Verdugo, CF
  3. Justin Turner, 3B
  4. Cody Bellinger, RF
  5. Max Muncy, 2B
  6. Matt Beaty, 1B
  7. Enrique Hernandez, SS
  8. Austin Barnes, C
  9. Ross Stripling, P



  • Aaron Nola (8-2, 3.63 ERA, 3.99 FIP, 3.86 xFIP) vs. Ross Stripling (7-6, 3.65 ERA, 3.84 FIP, 3.81 xFIP)
  • Nola has done well against the Dodgers in three career starts, posting a 2-0 record and a 2.84 ERA against Los Angeles.
  • Stripling has appeared in six games against the Phillies, starting three. He has an ERA of 4.95 in those appearances.
  • Nola’s Fangraphs Projected Line: 6.33 IP, 6.19 H, 1.32 HR, 2.62 BB, 6.58 K
  • Stripling’s Fangraphs Projected Line: 4.01 IP, 4.20 H, 0.87 HR, 1.18 BB, 4.24 K



  • FiveThirtyEight has the Phillies with a 27% chance of making the postseason. Baseball Reference says 23%. FanGraphs says 20%.
  • The Dodgers’ current active hitters have hit just .220/.291/.240 against Aaron Nola in his career against them.
  • But the Phillies own just a .165 batting average against L.A., their lowest against any opponent this season.
  • The Phillies’ pitching staff’s 7.71 earned run average is also the highest they’ve allowed to any opponent. It’s no surprise based on those stats that the Phils are 1-5 against the Dodgers this season — and that the Dodgers are the best team in the National League and maybe in all of baseball.
  • The Phillies sent down Austin Davis and Edgar García to Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Thursday morning and recalled Cole Irvin and selected Fernando Salas to the big club.


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