espn

Phillies set to entertain red-hot Diamondbacks

PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies right-hander Aaron Nola was well on his way to following up his best start of the season -- and perhaps the finest of his young career -- with another solid outing Sunday in St. Louis before one pitch did him in.

Nola served up a 92 mph fastball down the middle to St. Louis Cardinals center fielder Dexter Fowler for a three-run homer in the fifth inning.

That was enough for Phillies manager Pete Mackanin to give the 24-year-old the hook.

"Any time you're in a hitter's count, and you're going to come inside to a hitter who has some power, you're taking a big chance," Mackanin told CSNPhilly.com. "To make a pitch on the inside part of the plate is really tough. If it's out over the plate, it gets hit like it did. If it's inside, it's a walk. So that's why I don't like the pitch."

The Phillies fell 6-5 to the Cardinals and Nola took the loss. He allowed three runs on four hits, walked two and struck out six. He threw 93 pitches (53 strikes) in five innings.

After snapping its eight-game losing streak Thursday with a 1-0 victory over the Boston Red Sox, Philadelphia opens a weekend series Friday with the Arizona Diamondbacks (41-26). The Phillies (22-43) still own the worst record in baseball.

Nola is 3-4 with a 4.40 ERA in eight starts this season. He missed one month with a back strain. On June 6, he tossed eight one-run innings in a 3-1 victory in Atlanta.

Friday will be Nola's third start at home. He has allowed eight runs in 12 innings at Citizens Bank Park in 2017.

It will be his second career start against the Diamondbacks. On Aug. 12, 2015, Nola picked up a 7-6 victory in Arizona. He allowed four runs on nine hits in five innings.

Only four D-backs have faced Nola. Arizona slugger Paul Goldschmidt is 2-for-2 with two runs scored and two RBI against Nola. Third baseman Jake Lamb is 1-for-3 with two RBI.

The Diamondbacks come into Friday's opener on a different path than Philadelphia. Arizona, which was off Thursday, is riding a four-game winning streak and has won seven of its last eight after sweeping the Tigers on Wednesday with a 2-1 victory in Detroit. It is one of three National League West teams with 40 wins (Colorado, Los Angeles).

"We're very proud of that," D-backs manager Torey Lovullo told reporters Wednesday. "But I'm not so concerned with the other two teams. We've got a lot of baseball to go. We've put ourselves in a good position and it's time to continue moving in the right direction."

It's been a troubling month-plus for Arizona pitcher Patrick Corbin, who is 5-6 with a 5.38 ERA. His ERA has skyrocketed from 2.29 in April to 5.38 after his last seven outings.

In May, Corbin allowed 26 earned runs in 26 innings. He allowed six runs (five earned) in five frames in a 7-5 loss to Miami on June 2 but made strides his last time out.

Corbin allowed three runs in 5 2/3 innings June 8 in Arizona's 15-3 victory over San Diego. It was the first start in seven tries in which he didn't allow a homer.

"Thought I located everything a lot better than I have," Corbin told the Arizona Republic. "Just keep fighting, and we'll start hitting, I guess."

He's 1-1 with a 6.94 ERA in two career starts against Philadelphia. Only Phillies second baseman Howie Kendrick (6-for-17, four RBI) and right fielder Michael Saunders (1-for-3) have faced Corbin.

Related Topics:
sportsespnmlbarizona diamondbacksphiladelphia phillies
(Copyright ©2017 ESPN Internet Ventures. All rights reserved.)

Load Comments