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Game Notes: Phillies' Top Prospect Makes Debut

Nathan Karns vs. Aaron Nola

Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

David Buchanan entered last night's game with the second highest earned run average among starting pitchers in the major leagues. In his first six starts of the 2015 season, the sophomore pitcher had been tuned up for 25 earned runs and 40 hits in only 29 ⅔ innings of work.

Fortunately for Buchanan, his opponent in last night's competition was the Tampa Bay Rays and for the first time since August of 2014, he found himself in the win column. In 6 ⅓ innings of work, the 26-year-old right hander limited the Rays to three earned runs, lowering his season ERA to 7.00.

Unfortunately for Buchanan, his best performance of the 2015 season resulted in a demotion to Triple-A.

Philadelphia Phillies' prospect, Aaron Nola, appears to be Buchanan's replacement in the rotation as he is set to make his major league debut in tonight's game. Drafted seventh overall by the Phillies in the 2014 MLB draft, Nola entered the season ranked second on Baseball America's organizational top prospect list.

The Rays will send Nathan Karns to the mound as they look to even the series.

First pitch is at 7:05.

Today's Lineups

John Jaso - LF Odubel Herrera - CF
Steven Souza - RF Freddy Galvis - SS
Evan Longoria - 3B Cesar Hernandez - 2B
James Loney - 1B Ryan Howard - 1B
Logan Forsythe - 2B Cody Asche - LF
Kevin Kiermaier - CF Domonic Brown - RF
Jake Elmore - SS Andres Blanco - 3B
Rene Rivera - C Cameron Rupp - C
Nate Karns - RHP Aaron Nola - RHP

The Book on Aaron Nola

Aaron Nola posted a 1.47 earned run average in 16 starts as a junior at LSU in 2014. Over the course of 116 innings, the right hander struck out 134 batters while walking only 27. Nola's performance in the powerhouse SEC prompted the Phillies to use their first round pick in the 2014 draft on the college ace.

Similar to many college pitchers drafted in the first round, Nola has rocketed through the Phillies' organization. After signing a $3.3 million bonus, the Phillies assigned him to their High-A affiliate where he made only six starts before earning a promotion to Double-A. In his first season in professional baseball, Nola posted a 2.93 ERA in 55 ⅓ innings of work.

Nola began the 2015 season in Double-A but after 12 starts, in which he posted a 1.88 ERA, he was promoted once again. Six starts in Triple-A was all it took to prompt his call to the Show.

All in all, Nola pitched in 30 games in the minor leagues, posting a combined 2.57 ERA. Over the course of 164 ⅔ innings, he struck out batters 21% of the time while only walking batters 4% of the time.

Other Rays' Notes

--TicketCity released  an MLB Fan Power Rankings in which the Rays ranked 25th. Fanbases were ranked on the following criteria:

  • Average attendance for 2014 as a percentage of stadium capacity
  • Average ticket price on the secondary market (driven by demand) for the 2014 regular season
  • Annual team revenue for 2014 as provided by Forbes
  • Total number of Twitter followers as a percentage of the metro area population
  • Total number of Facebook fans as a percentage of the metro area population
--Fangraphs published a first look on the Phillies' rookie starting pitcher earlier today.