ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Do people realize how good Aaron Nola has been lately?Nola allowed two runs in six innings Tuesday night in a 7-1 loss to the Angels at Angel Stadium. He has allowed two or fewer runs in eight consecutive starts, tying him with Cliff Lee (2011) and Roy
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Do people realize how good Aaron Nola has been lately?
Nola allowed two runs in six innings Tuesday night in a 7-1 loss to the Angels at Angel Stadium. He has allowed two or fewer runs in eight consecutive starts, tying him with Cliff Lee (2011) and Roy Oswalt (2010-11) for the second-longest streak by a starter in Phillies history. Cole Hamels holds the record at nine consecutive starts in '11.
Nola has a 1.66 ERA (10 earned runs in 54 1/3 innings) in his past eight starts, striking out 63 and walking 15. He entered the game with the highest called-strike percentage in baseball (minimum 1,500 pitches) at 29.1 percent, according to Statcast™. But he has flown under the radar around Major League Baseball. That happens to pitchers playing for last-place teams like the Phillies.
"He pitched well enough to win the game," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said.
Nola did not dominate Tuesday like he had in his previous seven starts. He allowed eight hits, one walk and struck out three. He had struck out seven or more batters in his previous seven starts, and six or more batters in his previous 10.
"It was a battle tonight for sure," Nola said. "I got myself in jams with two outs and two strikes. They capitalized on them."
He retired eight of the first nine batters he faced, but allowed three consecutive singles to Yunel Escobar, Michael Trout and Jose Pujols in the third inning.
Phillies left fielder Nick Williams threw out Escobar at the plate to end the inning and maintain the Phillies' 1-0 lead. Statcast™ clocked Williams' throw at 95.9 mph, making it the hardest throw a Phillies outfielder this season.
Nola retired the first two batters he faced in the fifth before again running into trouble with the top of the Angels' lineup. He allowed a single to Escobar and walked Trout to put runners on first and second. Pujols followed and hit a 1-1 sinker to right field for a double to score two runs and give the Angels a 2-1 lead.
Still, Nola gave the Phillies a chance to win. He not could help that the offense went 2-for-16 with runners in scoring position.
"That's my plan going [forward], minimize the runs," Nola said. "I've just got to be better with two strikes and two outs."
Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and listen to his podcast.