The San Diego Padres were sent packing in five games in the NLCS against the Philadelphia Phillies. The series wasn’t as one-sided as the 4-1 outcome suggests, as the Padres fought tooth and tail the entire way, which made it all the more devastating. For San Diego catcher Austin Nola, though, the loss was a double-edged sword.
Of course, Austin’s younger brother Aaron is the No. 2 in the Phillies’ rotation. While Austin got the better of his sibling in Game 2 — the Padres’ only win in the series — with an RBI single, it’s Aaron’s team that punched a ticket to the World Series for a date against the Houston Astros.
To make matters worse, the Padres’ Nola flew out to right field for the final out in Game 5 with runners on second and third. Those runs represented the go-ahead and game-tying runs, respectively and the out came moments after Bryce Harper smacked the go-ahead two run home run off Robert Suarez in the eighth.
While Austin is undoubtedly thrilled for his brother, he (understandably) hasn’t reckoned with his team’s gutting defeat just yet. When asked if he planned on congratulating the Phillies’ right-hander, Nola gave a brutally honest answer.
Padres Austin Nola has yet to congratulate his brother Aaron for advancing to the World Series.
Not so much as a quick text message. That just speaks to how devastated Nola and the entire Padres organization is by falling just short of a World Series appearance. While San Diego has the personnel and coaching staff to make more deep playoff runs in 2023 and beyond, you never know what the future holds.
You have to think that thought crept into Nola’s mind after the Padres got eliminated. The Dodgers are going to reboot in a major way after their premature exit — perhaps by poaching Aaron Judge from the Yankees. The Braves aren’t going anywhere with their entire core locked up and the Cardinals and Mets aren’t going to lie down after their seasons were cut short earlier than they expected.
Anytime a team gets this close to reaching the promised land, it’s only natural for doubt to crop up in the immediate aftermath.
For Nola, the NLCS was a total disaster. The veteran catcher managed one hit in 19 at-bats (.056 batting average) and was the recipient of “Aaron’s better!” chants from Phillies fans when the series shifted to Citizens Bank Park for Games 3-5.
You can definitely understand why Nola needs time to decompress. Luckily, he has a couple more days before the World Series gets underway. Aaron is going to start Game 1 or 2 for the Phillies and we fully expect big brother to have reached out by then.