MIAMI - The Phillies have mapped out their pitching rotation for the final 24 games of the season. The team made a slight adjustment to optimize Cy Young candidate Aaron Nola down the stretch.
Nola had been listed as the probable starter for Saturday night's game against the Mets in New York. Thursday's off day has allowed the Phils to move Nola to Friday night, when he will square off against Mets lefty Steven Matz, not right-hander Noah Syndergaard.
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The move allows the Phillies to use Nola against the Braves in his final two starts. The Phillies play the Braves seven times over the final 11 games and the NL East title could be decided in those head-to-head meetings. The Phillies entered their game against the Marlins on Wednesday night trailing the Braves by 2½ games.
Zach Eflin will pitch Saturday night in New York against Syndergaard. Vince Velasquez will go against Cy Young candidate Jacob deGrom on Sunday afternoon.
After Friday, here are Nola's remaining starts:
• Wednesday, Sept. 12 vs. Washington at home
• Tuesday, Sept. 18 vs. New York Mets at home
• Sunday, Sept. 23 at Atlanta
• Friday, Sept. 28 vs. Atlanta at home
The regular season ends on Sunday Oct. 30. Velasquez would line up to start that day against the Braves.
The Phillies are looking to optimize Nola because, as manager Gabe Kapler said last week, "He's awesome."
Nola is 15-4 with a 2.23 ERA and a 0.974 WHIP in 28 starts. He is 9-1 with a 2.21 ERA in 14 home starts.