Thursday, August 17, 2017

Aaron Nola aims to get Philadelphia back in the win column

Philadelphia Phillies move up the coast to open series with Giants
The San Diego Padres are one of baseball's worst teams yet they made the Philadelphia Phillies look foolish in a three-game set at Petco Park. The Phillies now find themselves traveling up the coast to San Francisco for a four-game set opening tonight against the Giants.

"A very disappointing series here," manager Pete Mackanin said. "We couldn't get the job done."

The Phillies managed just three hits in a 3-0 shutout loss on Wednesday afternoon and were outscored 18-8 in the series. Nick Pivetta appeared as if he was on pace to toss a gem early, but a trio of walks, a balk, and surrendering five stolen bases thwarted his effort. He did look at impressive at times though, striking out eight of the first nine batters he faced while notching a career-high 11 overall, the most by a Phillies rookie since Cole Hamels collected 11 against the Houston Astros on Sept. 16, 2006.

"He pitched well today," Mackanin said. "I like what he did, other than the stolen bases. That's part of the game he needs to work at. Other than that, I thought he was really good."

Following the contest Pivetta was optioned to triple-A, a move done simply to secure an extra outfielder for the next few days as Odubel Herrera continues to mend from a sore left hamstring. The Phillies didn't want to place Herrera on the 10-day disabled list because the injury - as of now - isn't considered serious and he's day-to-day.

Optioned players need to spend 10 days in the Minor Leagues, but the Phillies play a doubleheader Tuesday against the Marlins at Citizens Bank Park. Pivetta can be added to the roster as the team's 26th man and likely will start one of those games. He's eligible to rejoin the big league club permanently on Aug. 27.

"With Herrera on the blocks, not knowing where he's at, we need a position player," Mackanin said. "With the doubleheader coming up, we have the option of adding an extra pitcher on the 22nd. So that's the reasoning there."

Aaron Nola aims to stop the bleeding for the Phillies while building on an already impressive streak since the All-Star break going 3-1 with a 1.85 ERA and 44 strikeouts in 39 innings over six starts. In his time out he held the New York Mets to one run on two hits through seven innings. It marked his 10th consecutive outing allowing no more than two runs, making him the first Phillies starter since 1893 to accomplish such a feat. He last surrendered more than two runs on June 16.

"Incredible, he's been pitching like an ace," Mackanin said of Nola last week. "He's showing everyone what he's capable of and I don't think we've seen his best yet."

The Giants counter in the opener with righty Jeff Samardzija who is on a nice little streak of his own, tossing three consecutive quality starts over his past four outings while going 3-1 with a 3.29 ERA.
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Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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