Nola, Phillies host Giants

Aaron Nola has spent the first five weeks of the 2018 season establishing himself as one of the best starters in the National League.

He’ll try to continue his brilliance Tuesday night as the Philadelphia Phillies host the San Francisco Giants in the second of a four-game series at Citizens Bank Park.

Nola, 24, ranked sixth in the National League in ERA (2.17) and was third in WHIP (0.920) as of Monday. He has given the Phillies a chance to win in each of his seven starts, allowing two runs or less in six of those outings.

Nola (4-1, 2.17 ERA) has had no trouble going deep into starts, either. Nola has pitched at least seven innings in his last three starts and picked up the win in each. His last time out, Nola tossed 7 1/3 shutout innings against the Marlins, surrendering just four hits and one walk while striking out seven.

“One of the things about Noles that’s so impressive is his ability to make in-game adjustments,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler told reporters after Nola’s last start. “So he took a little off his fastball, starting mixing in his changeup. He saw that pitch was going to be very effective and he really used that pitch well to keep the opposing hitters off-balanced.”

Nola has struggled in two career starts against the Giants, however. Nola has given up 10 earned runs in 8 1/3 innings against San Francisco, and his 10.80 ERA against the team is his highest against any opponent he’s faced more than once.

Giants left-hander Derek Holland will face Nola on Tuesday. Holland has had a shaky start to the season, but he picked up his first win of 2018 in his last outing.

The 31-year-old gave up three runs on four hits in five innings against the Padres last Wednesday. The Giants have won in both of Holland’s last two starts after dropping their first four games with him on the mound. In his first season with San Francisco, Holland has registered 29 strikeouts in 30 innings.

Holland spent the first nine years of his Major League career in the American League and has never faced the Phillies in his 214 appearances. The Pittsburgh Pirates and the Washington Nationals are the only other teams Holland has not pitched against.

Holland will try to cool off a Phillies offense that erupted for 12 hits and four homers on Monday night in a 11-0 win that ended the Giants’ four-game winning streak.

Phillies center fielder Odubel Herrera homered twice in the game, as he extended his on-base streak to 36 games. It’s the longest streak for any Phillies player since Jimmy Rollins reached base safely in 38 consecutive games spanning the 2005 and 2006 seasons.

“I’m seeing the ball very well, and I’m just trying to hit the ball hard,” Herrera, who has a .938 OPS, told NBC Sports Philadelphia after Monday’s win. “Because when you hit the ball hard, anything can happen.”