There are pitchers who pay for their mistakes, and then there's Aaron Nola.
From start to start, inning to inning, batter to batter and pitch to pitch, any outcome is possible for Nola. He can weave through a lineup with efficiency and keep everyone off base for three or four innings at a time, then unravel in the span of five minutes. He can struggle early and then settle in to deliver a deceptively high-quality start.
The range of results was on display again Saturday in a 9-0 Phillies loss.
Nola retired the first eight hitters he faced and was ahead 1-2 in the count to James Outman before allowing back-to-back doubles and a single in the span of four pitches to Outman, Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman.
It was the 10th consecutive start Nola allowed a home run. He is the only pitcher in the majors this season to do so. He has a 0.99 WHIP and .203 opponents' batting average over that span, and his strikeout rate has nearly doubled over his last five starts, but the homers kill.
Trailing by three runs, the Phillies sent Nola back out for the seventh inning. He put three of the four hitters he faced on base and all three scored, turning an OK outing into a bad one. Jeff Hoffman came on in relief with two men on base and hit a batter, allowed an RBI groundout, walked Muncy, gave up a three-run bomb to Martinez and a double to Peralta before being lifted.
Manager Rob Thomson had been ejected an inning earlier after the umpiring crew took issue with the number of baseballs Nola was throwing away. Nola does ask for a new ball frequently, and it can be construed that pitchers do it from time to time to game the pitch timer, but this was the first instance all season that an ump has taken exception to it in a game involving the Phillies.
Thomson left to a thunderous standing ovation.
The Phillies are 31-33 after having their six-game winning streak snapped.
They had a chance early to make it a difficult game for flamethrowing rookie right-hander Bobby Miller but Brandon Marsh struck out with runners on second and third and one out in the second inning, and Edmundo Sosa grounded out with the bases loaded to end the threat. Miller threw 49 pitches in those first two innings, then settled in with just 55 over the next four.
The first three hitters in the Phillies' order — Kyle Schwarber, Nick Castellanos and Bryce Harper — were a combined 0-for-9 with two walks, though Schwarber continues to swing it well. Two of his outs were well-struck line drives right at an outfielder.
The Phils turn to Taijuan Walker Sunday afternoon as they look to leave town with another series win. The Dodgers, who have been ravaged by injuries in the rotation, have not yet named a starter.