It wasn’t a great start for the Philadelphia Phillies ace as Aaron Nola’s first pitch of the game was taken deep by Charlie Blackmon in Coors Field. A collective thought echoed through the minds of Phillies fans, Nola was in for another rough start. After Blackmon’s home run and an inside-the-park home run, Nola would go on to have one of his best performances of the season and lead the Phillies to an 8-5 victory.
Everything looked the same from his previous starts; couldn’t find the strike zone, secondary pitches were flat and he was getting hit hard. As Nola got deeper into the game he started to closely resemble the Cy Young candidate pitcher we saw in 2018. The curveball had bite. His velocity rose. It all started to come together for the first time this season and the result was nine strikeouts in 5.2 innings.
Nola’s last pitch of the game is probably his best curveball of the season. The first couple innings were rough, but overall that was a very encouraging performance. @PHL_Influencer
— Jon Jansen (@jjansen34) April 21, 2019
Expectations for Nola are high after a breakout 2018 season. Concerns were legitimate after a few dud starts. Although his latest start seemed to be a copy of his past few games, he ended up having his most encouraging start of the season. To the point where it looked like a good indication that Nola was back to being a dominant pitcher.
So is Nola back to his 2018 form? To me, it certainly looked like it. It will be interesting to see if the command of his secondary pitches carry over into his next start. But for now, I think Phillies fans can agree with Gabe Kapler’s post-game thoughts about Nola, “it was comforting to see him perform like that for us.”
Oh, and just going to leave this here because it’s awesome.
SEE YA 👋
Phillies lead 7-3 after this 3-run homer from Harper! pic.twitter.com/7V2gZGqY0Z
— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) April 21, 2019