Aaron Nola has a history, be it selectively good or selectively bad. He has excelled and struggled at certain points in the season. But everyone knows about his struggles in September Philadelphia Phillies.
For his career:
Nola has a 4.47 ERA in September compared to a 3.63 career ERA. Is ‘September Nola’ a little overblown? Probably.
But Nola still surrendered four runs last night. He scattered them across seven innings, but in any sample size, four runs from your ace in a must-win game is a problem.
Ronald Acuña Jr. got the scoring started with his second go-ahead two-run homer of the series, punishing Nola for a lead-off walk to Ozzie Albies. It seems the Phillies are medicine for Acuña, who had an OPS of .755 coming into the series, and now sports a .775 OPS after two games.
The Phillies got runners at second and third with one out to start the top of the fourth, but the theme the past several days for the Phillies has been runners left on base, that continued on Saturday as J.T. Realmuto and Brandon Marsh was unable to bring Bryce Harper or Alec Bohm home.
Again, Philadelphia Phillies:
The Phillies for failing to score, putting two more runs on the board in the fourth on a double. Atlanta bats were held silent the rest of the evening, but it was all they would need.
Philadelphia began to chip away, but even with five innings remaining, it wouldn’t be enough. Matt Vierling brought a run back on a fifth-inning sacrifice fly. Before the Phillies loaded the bases for Harper with two outs.
His sinking liner looked sure to fall for a hit and bring home two. But Acuña was the dagger in the heart of Philadelphia again. His diving catch ended the inning and the biggest Phillies threat of the game.
Nola finally settled in and pitched three scoreless innings following the fourth. But it wasn’t enough to redeem himself. Another Phillies’ run crossed. The plate on Vierling’s bat again as his double scored Bryson Stott from first. But Kyle Schwarber and Bohm were unable to bring Vierling home.
The eighth Philadelphia Phillies innings saw:
The Phillies chip away further when Harper doubled to lead off the inning. While singles from Marsh and Stott made the score 4-3. But once more, the Phillies left runners on base.
With Raisel Iglesias coming in for the ninth, the Phillies needed just one run to keep their hopes alive. Yet a 1-2-3 inning from Vierling, Schwarber, and Bohm ended the game as they failed to bring Harper home.
The Phillies look to avoid a sweep Sunday afternoon at 1:35 EST as Bailey Falter takes on Spencer Strider.