MLB

Once a Cy Young hopeful, Aaron Nola struggling to find consistency with Phillies

Aaron Nola Phillies COVID
Aaron Nola
Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports

The last few weeks has only helped to prove that Aaron Nola is no longer the ace of the Philadelphia Phillies. That title belongs to Zack Wheeler.

Nola continued his struggles on Sunday against the Cincinnati Reds, yielding four runs on six hits with three walks in just 4.1 innings of work as the Phillies dropped their fourth game in six tries.

The 28-year-old right-hander who was an All-Star and finished third in the National League Cy Young Award voting back in 2018 is on pace to have one of his worst seasons as a pro with his ERA swelling to 4.48 on Sunday with a 1.166 WHIP.

“I didn’t command the baseball… and it hurt me,” Nola said. “It’s frustrating, especially going for a series win.”

Nola’s 4.1 innings pitched was the fifth-shortest outing the season — a concerning number for a pitcher that was supposed to be relied on to pitch deep into games. That hasn’t been the case in 2021 as Nola has pitched into the seventh just four times over 24 starts.

“Obviously, he’s real important to us,” Girardi said. “But so are the other four starters, too. It just doesn’t fall on him. It falls on the whole team and all the coaches and everyone involved — the manager, the trainers — to get this done. Keeping people healthy. All that.”

It’s not going to get much easier for Nola as his next start is slated to come against the San Diego Padres, who just got their superstar in Fernando Tatis Jr. back from injury. He announced his return with a pair of home runs on Sunday against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

“I’m going to do everything I can in my will to [turn things around],” Nola said. “We don’t have too much longer left in the regular season. It’s kind of a sprint now. I believe it will always turn around and we can keep winning. I’ll always believe that.”

But for a pitcher that began the season with some Cy Young consideration from the sportsbooks, Nola’s chances are slim to none right about now — and rightfully so:

2021 NL Cy Young Award odds

  1. Zack Wheeler (PHL): +175
  2. Walker Buehler (LAD): +300
  3. Corbin Burnes (MIL): +330
  4. Brandon Woodruff (MIL): +600
  5. Kevin Gausman (SFG): +1200
  6. Max Scherzer (LAD): +1500
  7. Jacob deGrom (NYM): +2500
  8. Freddy Peralta (MIL): +3000
  9. Julio Urias (LAD): +8000
  10. Trevor Rogers (MIA): +9000
  11. Taijuan Walker (NYM): +10000
  12. Yu Darvish (SDP): +10000
  13. Luis Castillo (CIN): +10000
  14. Clayton Kershaw (LAD): +10000
  15. Charlie Morton (ATL): +10000
  16. Chris Paddack (SDP): +10000
  17. Joe Musgrove (SDP): +10000
  18. Marcus Stroman (NYM): +10000
  19. Jack Flaherty (STL): +10000
  20. Aaron Nola (PHI): +15000

Odds courtesy of DraftKings

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