3. Aaron Nola
Nola is supposed to be the ace of the staff, but he isn’t pitching like it. Leading the National League in home runs allowed and having an ERA over four in August is not what we want to see.
Nola’s performance has been wildly inconsistent all season. Some days he pitches a gem and looks like the Cy Young candidate he was last year, only to immediately regress the following start and get rocked. He’s dominated good teams like the Rays and been shelled by bad teams like the Pirates, so there’s no rhyme or reason to his performance.
The home run rate is certainly alarming, and his highest walk rate since 2020 isn’t helping either. At least those issues are relatively fixable. If he throws more strikes and locates his pitches better, he should have more success.
Nola needs to get straightened out down the stretch, because we can’t afford to have him pitching like this in October. Maybe his arm is still feeling the strain of throwing 230 2/3 innings last year (including playoffs) — easily the highest total of his career. If he needs to skip a start or two to give his arm some rest, then so be it. He ran out of gas in the postseason last year (14 ER over his final three starts), and that can’t happen again.
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