June 19, 2015
The next time Aaron Nola steps up a level, he'll be pitching for the Phillies. He can only hope that outing goes as well as Thursday night's in Allentown.
Nola made his Triple-A debut for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs and had to face someone that is generally ranked even higher than he is on the verious prospect lists: Buffalo (Toronto) left-hander Daniel Norris. He won the duel. The Phillies' top pitching prospect only lasted five innings, but he didn't surrender a run and struck out seven hitters in the IronPigs' 3-0 victory. He had some trouble putting away hitters early, presumably because of the step up in competition. This is what he told Greg Joyce of The Express-Times:
"They were laying off some pitches I thought they'd swing at," he said. "After talking to some of the pitchers here, they said they were going to lay off some stuff. They were a little more selective and older and have had a lot more at-bats."
The biggest difference between the jump from Double-A to Triple-A might be the major-league experience of the players, so a comment like that makes sense. Last night's Bisons lineup reportedly had 1,854 games of MLB experience, and Nola was still able to hold them off the scoreboard through five frames.
Here are a couple of videos of Nola striking out rehabbing Toronto second baseman Devon Travis, who is hitting .271 with seven home runs in the majors this season:
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