Aaron Nola of the Phillies
PHILADELPHIA - Aaron Nola sat in the media room in Citizens Bank Park on Monday and spoke candidly about his desire to remain in Philadelphia. 

The 30-year-old right-hander will be a free agent after the World Series and undoubtedly ranks as one of the most coveted starting arms on the market. He and the Phillies had extension talks last winter, but the two sides failed to hammer out a deal. 

Nola avoided discussing his contract situation during the regular season, not wanting the distraction of extension talks grabbing the headlines. Nola cracked on Monday though, addressing his future while sitting in front of a sizeable contingent of national baseball writers. 

He'll be on the mound for the Phillies in Game 2 of the NLCS. 

“I really do. I love it here," Nola said. 'Obviously, it’s the only place I’ve been. I came up through some special times in the rebuilding era and got to witness and be a part of a lot of different types of teams. “To be on a team like I am now, it’s really cool and special to see and to be a part of all the success and failures to get to where we are now.” 

Nola, a first-round pick by the Phillies in the 2014 MLB Draft, broke into the starting rotation in 2016. He's been a rock ever since, piecing together three consecutive seasons with at least 30 starts and 200 strikeouts. 

Nola had a subpar regular season this year, posting a 4.46 ERA and the highest homerun-per-nine ratio (1.5) of his career, but he's been outstanding this postseason, tossing seven scoreless frames against the Marlins in the Wild Card Series before whiffing nine in another stellar outing in the Division Series against the Braves. Through seven career postseason starts, he is 4-2 with a 3.76 ERA. 

The Louisiana native has the potential to cement himself as one of the best hurlers in franchise history; his name is already all over the record books. 

Owner John Middleton is facing a difficult decision as Nola will have plenty of suitors this winter. It will already he a tough sell to the fanbase if he walks, but that situation will be far more troubling to spin if he continues to perform this postseason and leads the club to a title. 

A Little Noise 
Righty Merrill Kelly will start on Tuesday for Arizona. The 35-year-old made his postseason debut in the NLDS, tossing 6 1/2 scoreless frames in a win over the Dodgers. 

The right-hander spoke on Monday about his time playing in the World Baseball Classic and how that environment prepared him for the raucous crowd that's sure to welcome him at Citizens Bank Park. 

"I haven't obviously heard this place on the field, but I would be very surprised if it trumped that Venezuela game down in Miami," Kelly said. "When Trea [Turner] hit that grand slam, I don' think I've ever experienced -- at least baseball-wise, I don't think I've ever experienced an atmosphere like that so I hope that this isn't louder than that." 

Turner was asked about Kelly's comment and simply offered a smile. 

"I mean, both loud. I think domes are a little different," Turner said. "Sometimes they're pretty loud just because of the roof being closed. But as far as atmospheres, I think this one is just different. It's a little more hostile and a little more engaging. I think he can maybe tell you after tonight what it's like, but I wouldn't put anything past our fans. Our fans have been unbelievable. They've been great. I don't know what decibels mean, but I guess we did something cool or AC/DC concert level decibel the other night.

"I would just wait and see and we'll see what he says after." 

Postseason Success at the Bank 
Nola is 3-1 with a 1.99 ERA in four career postseason starts at Citizens Bank Park.

Starting Lineup 
Schwarber DH 
Turner 6 
Harper 3 
Bohm 5 
Stott 4 
Realmuto 2 
Castellanos 9 
Marsh 7 
Rojas 8 
Nola RHP

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post
Philadelphia Baseball Review - Phillies News, Rumors and Analysis