It’s not the final nail in the coffin of what’s been a less than stellar season, but it’s certainly a devastating blow. The Phillies dropped yet another Aaron Nola outing on Thursday afternoon, falling to the Braves 5-4 at SunTrust Park.
Nola surrendered a pair of homers and five runs over five innings in the loss. The defeat dropped the Phillies to four-games behind the Brewers for the second Wild Card spot in the National League. The Phils have now dropped each of Nola’s last six starts.
“I feel fine. My body is healthy,” Nola told reporters afterward. “Could have easily gone 6-0. It’s baseball. I haven’t been the best this month, obviously. I’ve given up a good bit of runs. Home runs. I haven’t really shut the other team down in a few games. Had a couple of bad games where I’ve given up four or five runs. It’s hard to win those games for sure when you’re giving up those kind of runs.”
The Phillies evened the contest at two in the fifth inning after Adam Haseley lashed an RBI-double and eventually scored himself on a Cesar Hernandez groundout. The Braves answered back though with Freddie Freeman hitting a two-run single to right field in the bottom half of the frame and the Phils never recovered.
The Phillies now travel to Cleveland and will open a three-game set with the Indians on Friday night. At this point, reaching the playoffs appears to be nearly impossible. According to FanGraphs, the Phils’ odds of securing the final National League Wild Card spot sit at 0.6%.
Drew Smyly will start tonight’s opener for the Phils, aiming to bounce back from a tough outing last week where he tossed just four innings and surrendered three runs in a no-decision against Atlanta. The Indians counter with Cy Young candidate Shane Bieber who is 14-6 on the season with a 3.26 ERA to go along with 245 strikeouts.
BY PATRICK GORDON