Phillies right-hander Aaron Nola looked like one of the best pitchers in the National League through the first two months of the season, but things have completely collapsed for him over his last four starts. He command abandoned him yet again Sunday against the Giants, as he was chased after giving up five runs on 10 hits over 3 1/3 innings. He also hit three batters, the third of which forced in a run. There’s no way he did that on purpose, but Johnny Cueto later retaliated by hitting Maikel Franco with a pitch. Fun times.
After posting a 2.65 ERA through his first 12 starts this season, Nola owns a 15.23 ERA (22 runs in 13 innings) over his last four starts. He hasn’t made it through four innings in any of them. His ERA now sits at 4.45 for the year.
Phillies manager Pete Mackanin acknowledged to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com that they are “concerned,” but they intend to have him pitch through his struggles. He’s still lined up to make his next scheduled start Saturday against the Royals. For now, at least.
“He’s a little confused right now,” manager Pete Mackanin said. “He’s approaching his first full year in the big leagues so he’s going to have some adversity. He probably hasn’t had any in quite a while, if at all. You can see his confidence is shaken. But he’s smart and a competitor. He’ll bounce back at some point.”
There’s been no talk of any physical issue, so Nola is mostly chalking it up to his mechanics being out of whack. The 23-year-old made a quick rise through the minors after being selected No. 7 overall in 2014, so the first taste of failure has surely rattled his confidence a bit too. The Phillies are counting on him to be a key part of their resurgence, so getting it figured out should be a top priority.
One day after reuniting with the Mets on a minor league deal, Jose Reyes made his debut with the Low-A Brooklyn Cyclones on Sunday in preparation for joining the major league roster in the coming days. Greeted with loud applause and even the familiar “Jose-Jose-Jose-Jose” chant from a capacity crowd at MCU Park in Brooklyn, Reyes played six innings and went 0-for-3 with a strikeout from the leadoff spot.
Reyes spoke with reporters after the game and said that he was “a little bit emotional” at the positive response from fans. His return to the Mets was only made possible after he was dumped by the Rockies following a 52-game suspension from MLB for a domestic violence incident with his wife. Reyes was arrested last October 31 in Hawaii on charges of assaulting his wife, Katherine. She told police that he grabbed her by the throat and shoved her into a sliding glass door. Charges were later dropped after she did not cooperate with prosecutors.
Per David Lennon of Newsday, Reyes repeatedly apologized during his postgame comments and used the phrase “terrible mistake” to describe the violent incident with his wife. He can’t get into specifics about the event in question because there’s still a chance the case can be reopened if there’s cause. The statute of limitations for the case expires on October 31, 2017.
“I’m a human being,” he said. “People make mistakes. But I’m going to stand up for the terrible mistake that I made and say I’m sorry it happened like that — to my wife, to my family, to all the fans who follow me . . . People that don’t like me anymore, I respect that, because I put myself in that situation. But people need a second chance.”
Reyes’ wife was in attendance for Sunday’s game.
It was reported earlier this week that reliever Tommy Hunter was close to landing a two-year deal with the Yankees worth between $11.5-12 million before it was voided due to an issue with his physical. Coming back from core muscle repair surgery, he ended up settling for a one-year, $2 million deal with the Indians.
Indians manager Terry Francona said earlier this week that Hunter will likely begin the season on the disabled list, but he went a step further this afternoon by telling Jordan Bastian of MLB.com that he could be sidelined through mid-May. Craig Stammen, who recently signed a minor league deal with Cleveland, is also expected to miss the start of the season as he makes his way back from surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon. Both could be useful bullpen arms if they come back healthy, but the Indians will have to make do without them in the early part of the season.
Hunter, 29, compiled a 4.18 ERA and 47/14 K/BB ratio over 60 1/3 innings between the Orioles and Cubs in 2015.