Phillies vs. Braves: Aaron Nola lasts just four innings in loss

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·4 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

Frustrated Aaron Nola: 'I didn't give the guys a good chance' originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Can't blame this one on the bullpen.

Aaron Nola would be the first one to tell you that a starting pitcher's job is to keep his team in the ballgame.

He'd also be the first one to tell you he didn't do that Sunday night.

Oh, there are other reasons why the Phillies lost this one to the Atlanta Braves. The offense did little against right-hander Huascar Ynoa, the Braves' 22-year-old starter.

But it seemed like the Phillies were never really in this one. Nola was tagged for four runs in the bottom of the first inning and the Phils went on to suffer a 6-1 loss in Atlanta.

The Braves ended up taking two of three from the Phillies in the series. The Phils' bullpen blew three late leads, including two in extra innings, on Saturday night. Nola watched that hideous loss from the dugout and felt a responsibility to help turn things around quickly.

"You know how tough of a loss that was," he said. "Of course, I put it on me. It's a chance to go out and win a series. And I didn't do that today. I didn't give the guys a good chance to score runs. Four runs right off the bat, that's tough for the guys."

Manager Joe Girardi did not hang with Nola long. He removed him for a pinch hitter in the top of the fifth inning, but that move failed to get the offense going.

"I just felt with his workload so far this season, we had to try to score some runs," Girardi said. "It was just one of those nights. I didn't think he had the command that he's had in the past."

Nola mentioned that he didn't have a good feel for his breaking ball. He understood Girardi's quick hook.

"I never expect to get pulled early," he said. "I know the situation. It was a tough first inning for me. Down 5-1 at that point, we needed to scratch some runs. Just a tough one today."

Phillies hitters had just six hits, struck out nine times and were 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position.

Nola ended up allowing five hits, two of which were home runs, and five runs in four innings of work. He threw 58 pitches, the fewest of his career. After coming out of the game, he sat in the dugout and stared out at the field. He appeared frustrated. His ERA jumped from 2.89 to 3.59 in the start.

Nola is 3-2 in eight starts. The Phillies are 5-3 in his starts.

The Phils head into Monday's off day at 18-17. They are in second place in the NL East, a game behind the Mets. 

Atlanta is 17-17.

So far this season, the Phils have played the Braves nine times. They lead the season series, 5-4, with 10 meetings remaining. The next one will come in the second week of June in Philadelphia.

Nola was presented with a quick lead when Andrew McCutchen hit the first pitch of the game over the centerfield wall for a 1-0 lead. However, that lead did not last long as Nola struggled from the outset. 

Nola walked Braves leadoff man Ronald Acuna Jr. in the bottom of the first inning and allowed three hits later in the frame — an RBI single to Freddie Freeman, an RBI triple to Ozzie Albies and a two-run homer to Dansby Swanson — as his 1-0 lead turned into a 4-1 deficit.

Two innings later, Freeman jumped on a first-pitch fastball and clubbed it for a solo home run to increase the Braves' lead to 5-1.

After going hitless Friday night, Freeman's batting average dropped to .195. The slumping first baseman came alive the last two nights of the series with three hits, including a pair of homers. 

Five runs of support were plenty for Ynoa, who is one of several outstanding young arms in the Braves' rotation. He held the Phillies to four hits and a run over six innings. He walked one and struck out six. He is 4-1 with a 2.23 ERA.

On July 2, 2019, Nola pitched eight shutout innings to lead the Phillies to a win in Atlanta. In his last three starts in Atlanta, however, Nola has lasted just 2⅔, 5 and 4 innings, respectively, while allowing 14 runs. He has taken the loss in all three starts.

Nola won't have to pitch again in Atlanta until the final week of the season. He, and the Phillies, hope that start means something.

Of more immediate concern: This road trip still has six games remaining, starting Tuesday night in Washington. The Phils are 5-11 on the road this season and 81-125 away from Citizens Bank Park since the start of 2018.

"We definitely need to turn it around," Girardi said.

Subscribe to the Phillies Talk podcastApple Podcasts | Google Play | Spotify | Stitcher | Art19 | Watch on YouTube