Phillies Analysis

Nola gives up a pair of 4-run innings as Phillies drop series finale to Red Sox

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BOSTON — For the second consecutive night, the Phillies didn't have what they've grown accustomed to through this point of the season — a long, strong outing from their starter.

Aaron Nola gave up a pair of four-run innings in the Phillies' 9-3 loss to the Red Sox Thursday night at Fenway.

The eight runs tied his entire earned run total in the month of April. It's the most he's allowed in a single outing since August 30, 2022, where he gave up eight against the Diamondbacks.

His night ended after retiring just 11 batters. He allowed 11 hits and only had two strikeouts. The 3.2 innings is officially his shortest outing of the season. Those two strikeouts is also marks another season-low.

Nola's ERA jumped from 2.77 to 3.48.

"I'm gonna flush this pretty quick," Nola said following the loss. "I mean, these are not easy ... You give up those first four, the team's in a better chance to score some runs and then I give up the next four. It's a little bit harder to come back on that. Obviously this one's tough but I'll flush it and move on. Get prepared for the next one."

The biggest area of concern surrounding the amount of travel the Phillies have done in recent weeks has been health, though their secondary issue has come to fruition, too. The amount of off days seems to have affected majority of the pitching staff.

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Nola lasted pitched in the series finale against the Brewers on June 5, which was the day the team traveled to London. Cristopher Sanchez, who had his second-shortest outing of the season last night, and gave up four runs, hadn't pitched since June 4.

This was almost anticipated though, so it shouldn't raise any red flags at the moment. It's why getting off to such a strong start to a season is essential. When you're 20-plus games over .500 nearing the midway point of June, a few missteps aren't detrimental.

"You've got to overcome it," manager Rob Thomson said about the disruption of the club's routine possibly affecting them. "You gotta keep grinding, keep battling, so better days ahead. I mean, we were due for one of these, too. We haven't had one of these since the second game in Cincinnati, I think.

"We just gotta come back tomorrow and get going."

If there's one clear bright spot from this series, it's Kyle Schwarber.

In the past, the designated hitter has been tied to the month of June for the number of home runs he puts up. In 2023, he had eight through the month, in 2022, a league-best 12.

It took 11 days this time through, but he finally had his first of June in a multi-home run game in the series opener against the Red Sox.

So, Mr. June has technically arrived — though really, he's been around — just in a different way. He's only had the two home runs but Schwarber's June production has elevated the Phillies' offense, especially in the leadoff spot.

Through the three-game series, in his first at-bat, Schwarber homered, walked and singled. Through the last six games, he's had 10 hits and walked six times.

Schwarber's double in the fourth inning cleared the bases to give the Phillies their first, and only, runs of the game. He had a three-hit night.

If there's one debate that can be squashed this season, it's trying to figure out if Schwarber is the best option at the top of the order.

Right now, he is.

The road ahead . . .

The Phillies head to Baltimore to wrap up their seven-game road trip in a weekend series against the Orioles at Camden Yards.

The Phillies' starting pitching will feature Ranger Suarez (10-1, 1.81 ERA), Taijuan Walker (3-1, 5.40 ERA) and Zack Wheeler in that order. The Orioles will run with Kyle Bradish (2-0, 2.62 ERA), Grayson Rodriguez (7-2, 3.27 ERA) and Corbin Burnes (7-2, 2.08 ERA).

Then, they'll return home after 12 days and traveling over 7,000 miles to host the Padres and Diamondbacks.

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