Phillies: What’s Up With Aaron Nola?

ATLANTA, GA JULY 02: Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Aaron Nola (27) looks out from the dugout after pitching 8 scoreless innings during the game between the Atlanta Braves and the Philadelphia Phillies on July 2nd, 2019 at SunTrust Park in Atlanta, GA. (Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA JULY 02: Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Aaron Nola (27) looks out from the dugout after pitching 8 scoreless innings during the game between the Atlanta Braves and the Philadelphia Phillies on July 2nd, 2019 at SunTrust Park in Atlanta, GA. (Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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Can Aaron Nola Rediscover His Form?

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2019 hasn’t been kind to Phillies RHP Aaron Nola. After emerging as the staff ace in 2018, the organization and fanbase had high expectations for him entering this season. Although he’s displayed his Cy Young-level form at times, he hasn’t been able to hold onto it with much consistently.

Nola’s season has been a tale of stretches, with perhaps one of his worst coming at an unfortunate time. With the Phillies trying to stay afloat in the NL Wild Card Race, the righty has struggled to keep his team in games.

Over the past three weeks, Nola has had issues locating both his fastballs and his knuckle-curve. Not being able to throw these pitches where he’d like has allowed hitters to make harder, better contact. He’s leaving them over the center of the plate, and batters have been taking advantage.

Perhaps more explanatory of this string of starts is a swing in luck. It seems Nola was fortunate for much of the 2019 season, and this recent unlucky stretch is just luck averaging itself out.

Aaron Nola has regressed a bit in 2019, and this recent stretch is further evidence that this season has been below his standards.

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However, that doesn’t mean that he can’t return to his usual form over the next three weeks. By living a bit more on the edges of the strike zone, and with a bit more luck, perhaps Nola can regain his ace-level production. The Phillies sure hope he does, because they need him.