As the Phillies quest for a playoff berth intensifies, manager Gabe Kapler looks poised to increase his ace’s workload in hopes that Aaron Nola can carry the team to the promised land. As Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports writes, the Phillies are considering starting the 26-year-old Nola every fifth day for the stretch run, regardless of intervening off days. Last year’s third-place NL Cy Young finisher has been far and away the most reliable of the Phillies’ starting rotation, which has sorely lacked for production outside of its ace. If the Phillies were to employ such a plan, Nola would make eight more starts over the next month-plus, which would place him at a total of 35 at season’s end. As Salisbury notes, though, Nola has often benefitted from a fifth day of rest and features considerably better career numbers with the extra day off. Of course, it’s undeniable that Nola is the Phillies’ best option to start games and the club is confident that, in a playoff race that may well be decided in the waning days of the season, their chances are maximized with Nola on the mound as often as possible.
Here’s all the latest from baseball’s East divisions…
- Mets starter Marcus Stroman left today’s start against the Indians after just four innings because of left hamstring tightness. Tim Healey of Newsday has an update, with Stroman undergoing an MRI that showed no reason for concern. Indeed, it’s only hamstring tightness for the new Met, who has now made four starts with his new club. All indications are that the injury is nothing serious, so it seems as though Stroman should be good to go for his next start.
- A pair of young Braves regulars are slated to begin rehab assignments in the coming days, per Mark Bowman of MLB.com. Shortstop Dansby Swanson will join the Class-A Rome Braves on Thursday for a rehab stint, with rookie slugger Austin Riley joining him the following day. Swanson has been out since late July with a heel issue, while Riley has missed about two weeks with a partially torn right LCL. While the Braves have found capable replacements for both young stars and has gotten by without the pair, the club would no doubt welcome Swanson and Riley back to the lineup as soon as possible. Swanson has put together his best offensive season, while Riley has gotten his career off to a blistering start, slugging 17 home runs in just 66 Major League games.
- Yankees pitching prospect Deivi Garcia has been moved to the bullpen for Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes Barre, according to Connor Foley of the Scranton Times-Tribune. While the organization has not given an explicit explanation for the move, it seems likely that it’s motivated by one of two things: most likely, the Yankees are limiting the workload for Garcia, who is just 20 years old and has already eclipsed 100 innings pitched for the season, a threshold that he never reached prior to 2019; or, less likely, the team is preparing Garcia for the role he would have in the Majors as a potential September call-up. The club has taken a similar course of action in the past with Justus Sheffield and Chance Adams, though both were further along in their development than Garcia.
- Injured Rays rookie Brandon Lowe may have hit a roadblock in his recovery from a right shin contusion, as he exited his rehab game with Triple-A Durham with a left quad strain, according to Juan Toribio of MLB.com. That injury, of course, is separate from the shin contusion, though the severity is not yet known. Lowe will return to St. Petersburg tomorrow to be further evaluated, at which point more details will likely be made available. Lowe, who has generated buzz as a Rookie of the Year candidate, has not played for the Rays since July 2. He had previously been expected to return in late August or early September, but that timeline may have been complicated by the introduction of another, unrelated injury.