Aaron Nola just cannot get any momentum going. Nor can the Phillies' bullpen or defense, for that matter.
Coming off of 5⅓ scoreless innings with 12 strikeouts in his last start, Nola struck out 11 Marlins on Wednesday night but couldn’t make it out of the fifth inning.
He had a three-run lead but allowed four straight hits with two outs -- all of them bloopers -- and by the end of the inning, the Marlins led by three. The Phillies ultimately lost 11-6 on an oppressively hot night.
The Phillies allowed 18 hits to Miami, a team that entered the night ranked 27th in the majors in runs per game, 28th in on-base percentage and 29th in slugging.
Nola gave up seven runs in 4⅔ innings. His ERA is 4.44. In his last 10 starts, he has a 5.75 ERA and has pitched 51⅔ innings, an average of less than 5⅓ per game.
"It’s not what I’m usually doing in my starts," he said. "I’m gonna keep working and believing I’m gonna pitch a lot deeper into games. I need to pitch a lot deeper into games. I’m obviously not going long enough. I’m going to keep on battling and working."
The Phillies, who know they are going nowhere if Nola doesn’t turn this around, are 8-9 in his starts.
They built an early lead with four runs in the second inning. Bryce Harper homered and Nick Maton hit a two-run triple. The theme for the Phillies in this month of June, though, has been blown leads. They've led in each of their last five losses.
Neftali Feliz relieved Nola in the fifth inning and quickly allowed an RBI single and a two-run double. Feliz, who had not pitched in the majors since 2017, was called up by the Phillies earlier this week and has allowed four runs on five hits in an inning of work. He was the pitcher who served up a grand slam to Nick Castellanos in Cincinnati in Monday’s collapse.
Ranger Suarez would have been a logical pitcher to turn to in that spot but he was unavailable after feeling back spasms while throwing earlier in the day, manager Joe Girardi said.
Since June 20, the Phils’ bullpen has allowed 38 runs in 35 innings. Ten of them are unearned, which sure doesn't make it any better because it speaks to the Phillies' season-long issue catching the ball.
Hector Neris gave up two runs in the seventh. Alec Bohm did not help him. Miguel Rojas hit a ball that had 5-4-3 double play written all over it but it caromed off of Bohm's glove into the outfield to score a run. Bohm has 12 errors and does not look like a major-league-caliber third baseman defensively.
Harper hit a second home run in the seventh. Both were solo shots. All 13 of his home runs this season and 18 of his last 19 have been solos.
The Phis are 37-41 as they go into the third and final game of their series against the Marlins. They're 4-5 on the season against the Marlins after losing the season series in 2019 and 2020.
In the last seven weeks dating back to May 11-12, the Phillies have won two games in a row twice. Twice.
"Pitching, defense, hitting, there’s been a number of things. We’ve got to turn this around," Girardi said, not knowing if that's even possible with this group.