PHILADELPHIA — Baseball’s October playoffs were essentially a 50-50 proposition for Aaron Nola, who will start Game 4 of the World Series on Wednesday.

After a spectacular performance on Oct. 3, in which he walked two outs deep into the seventh inning with two shutouts and nine strikeouts, Nola carried his effectiveness right into the playoffs.

He again pitched 6.2 innings in what would become a wild-card clincher in St. Louis and pitched six innings in Game 3 of the NLDS against Atlanta, again not allowing a single earned run. He allowed just nine hits and struck out 12 over his first two playoff starts.

But Nola’s pass to San Diego on Oct. 19 was thrown off course. He allowed seven hits and six earned runs, two of which were solo homers, in a Game 2 loss to the Padres. Then, in the World Series opener against Houston, Nola had five runs scored on a solo homer and three hits, both by Kyle Tucker.

“I think there were some fastballs that were kind of over the plate that they connected with … four home runs in those last two starts of mine,” Nola acknowledged Tuesday. “I know they had solos in San Diego, but the other night it was a solo and three homers. Solos won’t beat you unless you give up a few of them. But three run homers, they hurt.”

Nola avoided his second postseason loss with a comebacker in the Phillies’ Game 1. But there’s no question he started the playoffs hot and then cooled off. He’s not the only Phils pitcher to follow that script, as Zach Wheeler showed when he took a beating in Game 2 against the Astros on Saturday.

When asked about Wheeler on Monday, Phils manager Rob Thomson blamed it on early fatigue — not the fact that he was hit in the knee by a batted ball during Saturday’s game. Wheeler is still slated to start Game 6, if needed, on an extra day of rest Saturday.

In any case, Nola had nothing to do with the talk of fatigue.

“I don’t think any of us were really tired,” Nola said before the third game. Your body feels good, especially when you’re out on the field in front of all those people.

“Honestly, the last thing on my mind is fatigue. Body feels good, my arm feels good, that’s all that matters now.”

It remains to be seen how Nola will respond on Wednesday. The importance of the game is not lost on Nola, nor is her location. The last two hard-fought starts have come on the road.

– I can’t wait – said Nola. “Obviously, there’s electricity here. It’s fun. We all love this crowd and it’s so nice to be back home for the next three games. I am very excited to perform tomorrow.”

https://www.thereporteronline.com/2022/11/01/phillies-aaron-nola-shakes-off-fatigue-talk-ahead-of-game-4-start/

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