An accomplished front-end starter will go against a pitcher who has the ability to get there one day when the Philadelphia Phillies play host to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday.
Phillies right-hander Aaron Nola (5-4, 4.30 ERA) will oppose against Dodgers rookie right-hander Bobby Miller (2-0,1.06) when the teams meet in the middle game of a three-game series. The Phillies have won six straight games.
Philadelphia took the series opener 5-4 in dramatic fashion on Friday when Kyle Schwarber hit a game-ending home run with two outs in the ninth inning. Schwarber reached base four times, adding a triple and two walks in addition to his 17th homer.
Nola has been far from his best this season, one year after he went 11-13 with a 3.25 ERA and had an major-league-best 8.10 strikeout-to-walk ratio while finishing fourth in the National League Cy Young Award race.
He is coming off a dominating start against the Detroit Tigers on Monday, when he took a no-hitter into the seventh inning before giving up a three-run home run to Nick Maton following a walk and an error.
It was the fourth time Nola has taken a no-hitter into the seventh inning in his career. He struck out 12, walked three and yielded just the three unearned runs on one hit in seven innings.
"I thought he was good all night," Phillies manager Rob Thomson said after Nola showed slightly improved velocity. "He lost the zone a couple of times, but I thought his stuff was really good. The velocity was good. The curveball was good -- except the one to Maton. But I thought he was really good."
Nola has pitched well in spurts this season, like his April 28 start against the Houston Astros when he looked more like his former self by giving up one run on three hits over eight innings. However, he followed that by allowing four runs in 6 1/3 innings on the road against the Dodgers in a no-decision on May 3. Philadelphia lost that game 10-6.
In eight career starts against the Dodgers, Nola is 2-0 with a 3.86 ERA and 54 strikeouts in 46 2/3 innings.
Miller made his major league debut for the Dodgers on May 23 and has logged just three career starts. He has looked impressive in the early going, not allowing more than one run in any outing.
Miller is coming off a six-inning no-decision against the New York Yankees on Sunday when he did not allow a run, gave up just one hit and had seven strikeouts. Both of his walks came in the first inning on a day when he threw 86 pitches.
"How much do I want to push him in his (seventh) start this year?" Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said, adding in Miller's four starts at Triple-A Oklahoma City. "Knowing the fact that we've got a lot of baseball left, that played into the calculus."
Blessed with a 100 mph fastball, Miller looks every bit the first-round draft pick he was, selected by the Dodgers in 2020.
"I felt great," Miller said. "I definitely felt like I could've gone longer, but that first inning, get rid of those two walks and I'd be going into the seventh."
Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman hit back-to-back home runs for the Dodgers in the seventh inning on Friday. Los Angeles has lost three of four games during the current road trip, with all three losses coming in walk-off fashion.
--Field Level Media