Aaron Nola, Phillies light up Braves again in loss – NBC Sports Philadelphia

Zack Wheeler left after six glorious innings on Opening Day and almost everything has gone wrong for the Phillies since then.

The Braves' relentless attack followed up nine home runs on Friday with 12 on Saturday. Aaron Nola pitched one of the worst performances of his career in his first start since signing a seven-year, $172 million contract, and the Phillies lost their only long-time reliever to injury and never pitched in Saturday's game after the top of the second.

If you knew the Phillies were going to go after Max Fried in the first inning, you probably thought it was a productive rebounding effort after the offense calmed down and the bullpen exploded on Opening Day.

Not much.

Nola didn't have a good curveball or command, allowing a career-high seven runs on 12 hits on 4 Roles. The Phillies lost 12-4. They are off to an 0-2 start after losing their first four games last season.

“Obviously we're better than we show, but the last two days haven't been good,” Trea Turner said.

“I think you – you don't put a lot of pressure, we have a veteran's club – but you try too hard sometimes. You have to step back a little bit and relax a little bit. Sometimes early in the season, everyone gets busy. “On things. “You're trying to settle down and you want to win games, and you don't want to give it up because it's important at the end of the year.”

Nola's day unfortunately began when Ronald Acuña Jr. calmly grounded a ball to third base that Alec Bohm attempted to field with his bare hand. Bohm may have had enough time to glove and throw across the diamond but was rushed by Acuña's speed and missed the ball. Initially ruled a miss, it was later changed to a hit in the official crime-crazed recording environment of 2024.

See also  Viewer's Guide: Ranking this weekend's Super Wild Card matchups, including Matthew Stafford's return to Detroit

Nola left a changeup over the middle of the plate to the next batter, Ozzie Albies, who sent it into the seats in right-center field.

The Phillies responded in the bottom of the first inning with three runs to briefly take the lead. The keyboard appearances were Nick Castellanos' two-run, bases-loaded walk and Bryson Stott's double-run single. Castellanos clearly managed to look at the score 2-2 but home plate umpire Bruce Dreckman overturned the call, extending the strike and enabling the Phillies to score three times.

Fried was all over the place with erratic speed and was out after seven hits and 43 pitches.

But Atlanta kept coming to NOLA. Some of the hits were missteps or knockdowns but the outing cannot simply be attributed to bad luck as there was also a fair share of hard contact. The seven runs were two more than Nola had allowed the Braves in 35 career starts.

“We didn't really get enough swings and misses,” catcher JT Realmuto said. “I felt like they put the bat on the ball too much and when they put the ball in play, they seemed to find a lot of holes. They just didn't have a separate court, really. When we got to two, we only did two.” “We don't execute enough to keep players away. They took it into consideration and beat us like that.

“They did what they were supposed to do, when they scored two goals, they didn't do much, just tried to put the ball in play and found openings.”

Manager Rob Thompson extended Nola a little deeper than he could have done otherwise because the Phillies don't have a true long man in their bullpen. They have Luis Ortiz, who has pitched more than two innings twice in his career, but that's basically it. To make matters worse, Ortiz left Saturday's game with a sprained left ankle. Even if it was a day-to-day, a roster move on Sunday might have been necessary given the number of innings the Phils had to cover.

See also  NFL Week 5 - Jets and Jaguars are among the top tacklers

“Our bullpen is not very deep today and anyone we used yesterday we used today will be down tomorrow,” Thompson said. “(Nola) gave it to us, and it probably saved the game.”

The Braves have a bunch of lazy players coming out of their career years, but their team at the bottom of the standings did just as much damage on Saturday. Michael Harris II was a problem in the six hole two days in a row, going 6-for-9 with a homer, double, walk, stolen base and five runs scored. Orlando Arcia, batting seventh, had three hits. Travis d'Arnaud hit a double on the eight hole. And Jared Kelenic delivered RBI singles in each of his first two nine-out games.

He also robbed Bryce Harper with a diving catch to left-center to open the bottom of the third. There was more bad luck for Harper two innings later when he sent the ball straight to first baseman Matt Olson, who doubled off Turner.

The only luck Saturday was that Harper avoided injury when he flipped over the dugout barrier into a camera well in the first inning. It was a scary play that silenced the audience of 44,468 but Harper was fine after the play. Hustle is great but he and the Phillies would probably benefit from a little more caution. One that doesn't deserve months on the shelf.

“He got beat up,” Thompson said. “That was a little concerning when he went into the well there, and hit it pretty hard. … It's Bryce, he'll play the game hard all the time. It's hard to hold him back, that's the way he acts.” “.

See also  Why Pablo Sandoval's Giants Return Isn't a Surprise Bruce Bochy - NBC Sports Bay Area and California

The Phillies won't have many opportunities this season to make amends for the Braves. After the weekend, they won't see Atlanta again until July 5-7, with the final two series arriving over 10 days in late August.

The Braves are an elite team. I have improved. They added Chris Sale to their rotation and built their bullpen, featuring four lefties. Having that many lefties allows them to do things like use Tyler Matzek on Kyle Schwarber with two outs and a runner in scoring position in the fourth inning. The Braves had only two lefties on their 2023 NLDS roster, AJ Minter and the ineffective Brad Hand. They are in a better position this year to battle the Phillies' better hitters.

The schedule loosens after the Braves leave town with six of the Phillies' next seven series coming against a modest roster of the Nationals, Reds, Pirates, Rockies and White Sox. Regardless, saving the series opener and avoiding being swept by their biggest rival is very important – even at this time of year – from a mental standpoint as much as a practical one.

“Tough, two tough to start the season,” Nola said. “Come back tomorrow and compete, that's all we can do. Try to get a third game and we'll have a lot of baseball left. We know it's going to be a battle against the Braves.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *