Big weekend for Phillies’ pitchers Aaron Nola and Zach Eflin

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Big weekend ahead for 2 Phillies pitchers originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Saturday will be an important day for the Phillies as they gauge their stretch-drive pitching situation.

Aaron Nola, who, except for a handful of starts, has struggled to find consistency this season, will start in San Diego against a Padres team that includes his brother, Austin. The Phillies desperately need Nola to be consistently effective over the final weeks of the season if they are going to catch the Atlanta Braves in the NL East. 

Nola did not make it out of the fifth inning in his last start, a loss to Cincinnati. Saturday’s start could offer a clue as to whether he can turn his season around. Or it could be more of the same. The right-hander is 7-7 with a 4.48 ERA in 24 starts. He will oppose Padres right-hander Joe Musgrove.

Back east, another important Phillies pitcher will take the mound Saturday. Zach Eflin, who last pitched on July 16, will make a minor-league rehab start for Double A Reading. Eflin has been battling right knee tendinitis. The right-hander is expected to throw two or three innings or about 35 pitches. It is not clear whether he will require a second rehab start after Saturday. His condition and performance will determine that.

The importance of Nola and Eflin to the Phillies’ postseason chances was a topic of conversation on Friday’s edition of the Phillies Talk podcast. Ruben Amaro Jr. was a guest on the podcast and offered insights on a number of topics beyond Nola and Eflin. They included:

  • The Phillies’ offensive struggles of the past 10 days.

  • The concept of knowing how to win and whether or not the Phillies possess it.

  • The red-hot Braves. Will they be caught in the NL East?

  • Rhys Hoskins potentially returning from the IL this weekend.

  • Amaro also dug into some of Nola’s struggles.

It’s all on Phillies Talk. Give it a listen.