Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Nola on the bump as Philadelphia looks to salvage a win against Houston

Philadelphia hurler Aaron Nola looks to stop Phillies' skid
The Philadelphia Phillies turn to Aaron Nola on Wednesday night in an attempt to salvage a win in the final contest of a three-game set with the Houston Astros at Citizens Bank Park.

Nola is one of baseball's hottest pitchers, piecing together a 4-1 record with a 1.70 ERA, striking out 50 batters in 42 1/3 innings, all over his last six starts. He's also tossed at least seven innings in five of those starts and allowed two runs or fewer in each, including his last time out, when he gave up five hits and one run in seven innings during a win over the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday.

"He's been our go to, especially as of late," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "He's getting ahead in the count and putting everything together. His change-up right now is spectacular, so that's good to see."

The Astros are more than a formidable foe, having collected 22 hits and 18 runs while taking the first two games of the series.

"That team can really hit and hurt you if you make a mistake," said Phillies starter Vince Velasquez following Monday's 13-4 loss. "It's a really tough lineup to face."

Opposing Nola is righty Mike Fiers who is riding a bit of a hot streak himself, going 6-2 with a 2.36 ERA, holding opposing batters to a .195 average while striking out 69 hitters in 61 innings over his last 10 starts. He limited the Baltimore Orioles to one run on six hits in seven innings.

Despite his recent success Fiers has terrible career numbers in Philadelphia, going 0-2 with a 12.15 ERA in two starts while surrendering 11 runs (nine earned) in 6 2/3 innings.

Roster Moves
Aaron Altherr was reinstated on Wednesday following a stint on the 10-day disabled list with a hamstring issue. To make room the club placed Daniel Nava on the 10-day disabled list with a hamstring strain retroactive to Sunday.

Potentially Historic Night
Astros second baseman Jose Altuve is trying to become just the third player since 1927 to bat .500 in a month (minimum 80 at-bats). After going 1-for-4 on Tuesday night, he is at .494 (39-for-79) in July.

Phillies Lineup
1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Freddy Galvis, SS
3. Nick Williams, RF
4. Howie Kendrick, LF
5. Aaron Altherr, CF
6. Maikel Franco, 3B
7. Tommy Joseph, 1B
8. Cameron Rupp, C
9. Aaron Nola
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Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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