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Phillies Notebook: Nola says he’s ‘battling out there’ with his fastball location

PHILADELPHIA — Despite the appearance of a good start to the season, Phillies second starter Aaron Nola admitted Wednesday he’s “battling” to right himself.

Nola (4-2, 3.67 ERA) was outdueled by Toronto’s Chris Bassitt in a 5-3 Phillies loss to the Blue Jays at Citizens Bank Park.

As has been the case frequently through Nola’s career, what was looking like a quality start fell apart somewhat in the sixth inning. Toronto’s Vlad Guerrero Jr. began it with a swinging bunt single up the third base line. Hits by Justin Turner, catcher Danny Jansen and Bo Bichette followed in quick order as the Blue Jays built a 4-1 lead.

“A couple of mistakes … and I missed a couple of spots,” Nola confessed.

But what he’s more concerned about is the way he hasn’t been able to get his fastball to a low enough point.

“I felt alright today,” he said. “It felt like I threw a couple of them down, but I’m just battling out there. Obviously trying to get the ball down, that’s kind of what got me to this point. … It’s just not as consistent right now, but I’ll definitely try to get back to that.”

Nola, removed after 5 2/3 innings after allowing four earned runs on nine hits, but with seven strikeouts against no walks, claimed his issue is primarily with one pitch.

“I feel like my fastballs that do get hit are thigh-line, which is a good spot for hitters to hit,” he said. “I’ll keep working at it and obviously keep trying to move the ball around the plate.”

As for Bassitt, who was off to a rickety start to the season, he went 6.1 innings, allowing only two earned runs and three hits. The Phillies would get a ninth inning run off reliever Jordan Romano, and had the game-tying run on second base when Romano retired Whit Merrifield for the final out.

Success against the Phils is nothing new for Bassitt, who has pitched to a 1.89 ERA in five career starts against them.

“Just keeping us off balance,” manager Rob Thomson said of Bassitt. “Cutter, fastball and the slow curveball. He pitched well. You’ve got to give him credit. He kept us off-balance. But I have to give our guys credit. We came back, had the tying run on second base in the ninth. We kept fighting.”

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NOTES >> The Phillies’ 11-game win streak at Citizens Bank Park, which dated to a loss to the Pirates on April 14, came to an end. … While grounding out to complete an oh-for-4 at the plate, Bryce Harper flung a bat toward the fence in front of the Phillies dugout in frustration. “He’s a perfectionist,” Thomson said. “He wants to do well for the team, the city, the organization … he gets frustrated.”

Source: Berkshire mont

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