Asks Matt Gelb on The Athletic:
Fairly or unfairly, Nola will enter 2020 with the stamp of failure in the season’s critical moments.
He has a 6.14 ERA in four starts this month. The Phillies had not lost six Nola starts in a row since the middle of 2016, before “ace” status was bestowed upon him. Nola had a 10.61 ERA during a seven-start losing streak in 2016. It’s 4.84 during this drought.
“It’s baseball,” Nola said. “Could have easily gone 6-0. It’s baseball. I haven’t been the best this month, obviously. I’ve given up a good bit of runs. Home runs. I haven’t really shut the other team down in a few games. Had a couple bad games where I’ve given up four or five runs. It’s hard to win those games, for sure, when you’re giving up those kind of runs.”
But the Phillies have scored a total of 19 runs in Nola’s last six starts. They expect to win every time he steps on the mound and that can have a psychological effect on a lineup. Score one or two runs early in the game, and it’s hard not to think it might be enough for Nola when he’s right.