Aaron Nola was phenomenal Saturday evening, but the offense struggled as the Philadelphia Phillies lost to the Boston Red Sox, 2-1. With the loss, the Phillies fall to 76-71 and are now three-and-a-half games behind the Chicago Cubs for the second National League Wild Card Spot.
Nola cruised through three perfect innings to start the game, and was aided by some spectacular defense, including this play from Maikel Franco that ended the second inning:
— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) September 14, 2019
Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez was also very good early, allowing just one baserunner in the first three innings on a Cesar Hernandez single.
Nola allowed his first baserunner in the top of the fourth on a Xander Bogaerts base hit. But during the next at-bat, J.T. Realmuto gunned down Bogaerts at second base, his 37th would-be basestealer that he’s thrown out in 2019:
— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) September 15, 2019
This game continued to be a pitcher’s duel throughout the next three innings. Nola and Rodriguez allowed only four combined baserunners between the fourth and the six, allowing no runners to reach third base.
Nola finally ran into some trouble in the top of the seventh inning. After Rafael Devers worked a walk, J.D. Martinez singled to left to give the Red Sox two on with no outs. Nola struck out Mitch Moreland on three pitches to get one out in the inning, but allowed an RBI double to Christian Vasquez that gave the Red Sox a 1-0 lead. After walking the next batter, Nola was able to get a ground out and strikeout to end the inning and limit the damage to just one run.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, the Phillies returned the favor. After Bryce Harper started the inning with a base hit, Cesar Hernandez hit a two-out base hit to give the Phillies two on with two outs. Rodriguez hit Adam Haseley in the back to load up the bases for Franco, who walked to tie the game at one. Phil Gosselin pinch hit to face new Red Sox pitcher Josh Taylor, but he struck out to end the inning.
After Ranger Suarez and Jared Hughes combined for a scoreless eighth inning, the Phillies threatened to score in the bottom of the inning. Jean Segura led off the inning with an infield hit, and Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes walked Bryce Harper with one out to give the Phillies men on first and second with only one out. However, Rhys Hoskins and Scott Kingery both flew out and the Phillies were unable to capitalize.
Boston was able to retake the lead in the ninth inning against Phillies closer Hector Neris. Back-to-back singles from Moreland and Christian Vasquez gave the Red Sox runners on first and third with no outs. After Jackie Bradley Jr. lined out and Brock Holt walked, pinch-hitter Andrew Benintendi hit a sacrifice fly to left field to give the Red Sox a 2-1 lead.
Cesar Hernandez walked to lead off the bottom of the ninth, but the Phillies were unable to capitalize and lost, 2-1. They have now lost five straight Aaron Nola starts for the first time since 2016.
Shibe Vintage Sports Starting Pitching Performance
Aaron Nola was awesome for six innings, but hit a road block in the seventh inning. This is a consistent trend for Nola, who has really struggled in the seventh inning in this season:
Aaron Nola ERA in the first six innings: 3.37
Aaron Nola ERA in the seventh inning: 8.10
Aaron Nola ERA in the first six innings: 2.29
Aaron Nola ERA in the seventh inning: 3.31
— Jonny Heller (@jonnyheller) September 15, 2019
- His line: 7 IP, 4 H, ER, 3 BB, 9 K
Eduardo Rodriguez was also great through six innings before struggling in the seventh. He struck out a season-high 12 batters and had Phillies hitters mystified all night long until he allowed the game-tying walk to Maikel Franco.
- His line: 6.2 IP, 4 H, ER, BB, 12 K
Phillies Nuggets Player of the Game: Aaron Nola
Aaron Nola was excellent on Saturday night. Even after getting himself into a dicey seventh inning jam, he was able to escape with just one run allowed. Nola has pitched against the Red Sox three times over the past two seasons, and he has done great against an elite Boston offense:
Aaron Nola, career vs the Red Sox:
3 G, 22.0 IP, 4 ER, 1.64 ERA, 12 H, 5 BB, 22 K
Not bad considering the hitters in that lineup.
— Jonny Heller (@jonnyheller) September 15, 2019
Unfortunately, the Phillies offense was unable to give him proper run support and lost despite his efforts.
Ticket IQ Next Game
- Sunday, 1:o5 p.m. ET vs. Boston Red Sox at Citizens Bank Park
- NBC Sports Philadelphia
- SportsRadio 94 WIP; WTTM 1680 (Spanish)
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