Aaron Nola, the lone All-Star from the Philadelphia Phillies, will make his first start of the second half Tuesday.
Nola (12-3, 2.30 ERA) and the Phillies are hosting the Los Angeles Dodgers in the middle contest of a three-game series at Citizens Bank Park. Right-hander Kenta Maeda (7-5, 3.12) starts for the Dodgers.
Nola has become a Cy Young candidate during a breakout season -- his fourth in the major leagues. The 25-year-old righty ranked second in the National League in ERA and wins and was third in WHIP (0.98) as of Monday.
The Phillies (55-44, tied for first with Atlanta in the National League East) won 14 of Nola's 20 starts in the first half, and he pitched at least six innings in 17 of them. Nola has not allowed more than four earned runs in a start this season and has given up one run or fewer in 11 of his outings.
"I'm being a little smarter," Nola told MLB.com of his first half during the All-Star break. "I'm watching the game a little more when I'm not pitching, kind of studying the game, being a student of it."
Nola threw a scoreless inning with two strikeouts in the All-Star Game, but he hasn't pitched for the Phillies since July 14. Nola allowed two runs -- both in the first inning -- against the Marlins in a rare loss as he closed out the first half.
Nola gave up one run and two hits and struck out seven against the Dodgers on May 31. He is 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA and 0.71 WHIP in two career starts against Los Angeles.
Nola has allowed only six home runs this season. But he'll face the homer-happy Dodgers (56-44, first place in the NL West), who lead the National League in home runs and hit four in Monday's series opening 7-6 win. It included one from Max Muncy, whose 23 homers rank fifth in the National League.
Muncy participated in last week's Home Run Derby, as did Rhys Hoskins.
Hoskins has homered in three straight games, and his three-run homer off Ross Stripling on Monday night was one of four Phillies long balls that came in a losing effort.
Maeda will also be making his first start of the second half. He's been reliable over the last two months, posting a 1.97 ERA in his final nine starts before the break. Maeda recorded 61 strikeouts in 50 1/3 innings over that span and opponents hit .179 against him.
Maeda had nine strikeouts in each of his last four starts, including a July 11 outing against the Padres. He gave up one run on four hits during 5 2/3 innings in that outing. Maeda credited his changeup for the uptick in strikeouts this season after the start.
"I've been able to use it effectively and I'm getting a lot of punchouts with it," he told MLB.com.
Maeda pitched 1 2/3 innings against the Phillies on May 29 before he had to leave the game because of a hip injury. He is 3-1 with a 4.37 ERA in five career starts against Philadelphia.