Phillies offense goes silent again as Cubs take finale

Phillies walloped by Cubs in finale
Though still young, Aaron Nola has proven he can go up against some of baseball's best and do more than simply compete. Even the best, however, need help at times but Nola didn't get that on Sunday.

The Phillies offense left seven runners on base and failed to capitalize on eight hits against Cubs starter Jon Lester en route to a 8-1 defeat at Citizens Bank Park.

The outing marked the first time in Nola's career he surrendered three home runs in a single contest. It also was the first time he surrendered more than three runs in an outing since June 17.

The Cubs collected nine hits on the afternoon, six of which were extra base-hits, including solo homers by Danny Murphy, Javy Baez, and Anthony Rizzo all off Nola.

Baez continued his march towards the NL MVP award, finishing 2-for-5 on the afternoon with the homer, a triple and two runs scored.

Nola tossed 5 2/3 innings, surrendering four runs on five hits. He struck out 11, marking the sixth time this year he's notched double-digits in strikeouts. In the end though, the whiffs didn't matter.

Jorge Alfaro drove in the Phillies lone run in the ninth with an RBI-double, scoring Scott Kingery who reached earlier in the frame on a single.

Despite the lackluster showing all weekend, manager Gabe Kapler remains steadfast that his offense is more than capable of producing.

"I'm not concerned about our offense," Kapler said. "I'll tell you this: I think our offense is better, more balanced, our lineup is deeper and we have more weapons now than we did a month ago, when we were in first place in the National League East."

The Phillies threatened in the fourth with Asdrubal Cabrera, Scott Kingery, and Jorge Alfaro all reaching via base hits. Unfortunately for the Phils, Nola followed with a grounder to third to erase the opportunity.

Roman Quinn laced a leadoff double to the gap in left in the opening frame but was thrown out at third trying to stretch it into a triple. It was a hustle play, but with his speed, he likely would have crossed the plate later in the inning as the Phillies collected two more hits.

In total, the Cubs outscored the Phillies 17-4 in the three-game set.

The Phillies have not won a series since completing a four-game sweep of the Marlins on August 5.

"The games are limited right now," Nola said. "It's the last month of the regular season. We have to find ways to win. We just have to take it game by game, at-bat by at-bat, down the stretch. I think every game is super important right now for us. A win is everything right now."

(Updating ...)
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BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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