When I wrote about Nola — barely a month ago, at this point — he kind of took the backseat to rotation-mate Vincent Velasquez, who had recently struck out 16 hitters in a dominant complete game. However, since VV’s first two starts, during which he struck out a combined 25 hitters, he hasn’t struck out more than six hitters in a single game and has shown lapses in command.
Meanwhile, Nola has, somewhat quietly, turned in one of the season’s best first six weeks. He ranks third in pitcher WAR (wins above replacement) behind Clayton Kershaw and the underrated Jose Quintana. But WAR is partly a function of playing time, so this might be an unfair comparison for, say, Kyle Hendricks, who has started two fewer games than Nola.