NEW YORK – The Phillies have set their starting pitching rotation up to the All-Star break.
Aaron Nola will make his final start before the break Saturday night in Miami.
That clears him to pitch an inning in the All-Star Game on Tuesday night in Washington.
Manager Gabe Kapler wanted to see how Nola bounced back from Monday’s start before he set his weekend rotation. Pitching on Sunday, with an extra day of rest, would have made Nola ineligible to pitch in the All-Star Game.
“He’s going to start for the Phillies on Saturday,” Kapler said. “It will be healthy and safe for him to pitch in the All-Star Game.”
So the Phillies will close out the first half of the season this way: Nick Pivetta will start Thursday’s makeup game in Baltimore followed by Jake Arrieta on Friday in Miami, Nola on Saturday and Zach Eflin on Sunday.
Kapler is enthusiastic about seeing Nola work in the All-Star Game, but his first responsibility is to the Phillies. The team is in a pennant race for the first time since 2011 and Nola will be hugely important down the stretch.
“There’s this balance of doing what’s best for Nola long term, and obviously there’s no right answer for that, and what’s best for the Phillies long term, and there’s no right answer for that,” Kapler said. “But you’re thinking about it. Ultimately, it’s what this guy has earned which is to pitch in the middle of the summer in the All-Star Game. That happens maybe once in a lifetime. Maybe for him it happens 15 times. But it’s at least worth noting that it’s an honor that you have to respect and to respect if fully you have to switch things up a little to make sure that happens.
“I can certainly put myself in the shoes of a fan and say I can’t wait to turn on the game and watch Aaron Nola, our All-Star, pitch in that game. I think that means something. I think it’s a powerful thing.”