Last summer, I had the privilege of witnessing Aaron Nola’s first professional game when he took the mound for our Clearwater Threshers. It was a rainy, stormy night…and you can read about it HERE.
It was a solid start for the pitcher out of LSU who had just completed the College World Series. I thought that he may have been a bit tired, since he had pitched the entire college season and was starting basically a second season pitching for the Threshers. I remember that he did “Okay” but thought that fatigue might be a factor in his performance last season.
Paramount in my mind yesterday, was getting a chance to see Nola pitch in a game with a fresh arm. Only then, could I get a more accurate feel for the kind of pitcher he is.
It had been announced he would start but when I got to the bullpen, Jonathan Papelbon was warming up. I was disappointed because my only reason for going to the game was to see Nola. I very nearly left as the weather was turning for the worse. The temperature was dropping and living in Florida, I knew this meant a storm was coming.
However, my perseverance was rewarded as Nola started warming up in the bullpen.
I was excited to see him pitch. He looked much more relaxed and frankly, more powerful than he did in his short stint with the Threshers last summer.
I was impressed.
He went into the game to face the dreaded Yankees, including Alex Rodriguez. After the game, A-Rod was quoted as saying, “Good arm, power slider, power change-up. I think he has a bright future.”
After his performance: 3IP, 5H, 4K, 0W, I think A-Rod might be onto something.