We are back once again with a 97.3 ESPN Phillies mailbag. Each week we take your questions and talk about them on the Sports Bash with Mike Gill every Tuesday. Send your questions anytime on Twitter to @FrankKlose or send a text to the text board at 609-403-0973.

Do you think that the current pitching rotation is hurting Aaron Nola?

The Phillies decided that their best chance to make the playoffs was to pitch Aaron Nola every fifth day, no matter whether or not there was an off day.  So far, that plan has not really worked wonders.  After last night's loss, the Phillies have lost four straight Aaron Nola starts.

While it's true he has struggled some, it may not have to do with the dates.  The first two losses could have easily been wins.  Nola went seven innings and allowed three earned runs against the Miami Marlins on August 25.  The Phillies offense did not support him and he lost.  The next start he allowed just one earned run in 6 1/3 innings (thanks to the bullpen helping bail him out some) and the Phillies ended up losing 11-5.

Those two losses cannot be attributed to Nola.

The last two starts were tough ones for Nola.  On Wednesday of last week, Nola lasted just four innings and allowed five runs.  Last night, Nola allowed four earned, though one might argue he settled down.  The Phillies offense only mustered one run late, and it was Nick Pivetta who put the game out of reach.

So really it is just two poor starts.  Maybe Nola needs the breather.  The further the Phillies fall out of contention, they may have no problem giving him one.

Do you think the Phillies will re-sign J.T. Realmuto?  What will it take?

When the Phillies traded their top pitching prospect in Sixto Sanchez in order to acquire All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto, they must have had in mind that they hoped to lock him up long-term.  At the time, general manager Matt Klentak said it would be better to date someone for a while before marrying them.  But an extension must be an offseason priority.

On Sunday, Kevin McCormick of Sports Talk Philly suggested it would take four years and $100 million.  Yesterday, Corey Seidman of NBC Sports Philadelphia went five years and $115 million.  I think that the Phillies would prefer to go four years and might go five if necessary.

Realmuto is 28 years old, and it's hard to go too long on a catcher.  We've seen plenty of catchers wear down in their early 30s, and with all Realmuto is catching, he may need more and more time off.  I do think the designated hitter in the National League is imminent, which would give the Phillies more options later in a deal.

If the Phillies plan to compete the next few seasons, one real advantage would be to have Realmuto on their team.  The Phillies cannot afford to not get a deal done.

What is going to happen with Nick Pivetta? Can the Phillies afford to continue to give him chances?

Watching Monday night's Phillies loss the Phillies had a chance to win the game, even after Nola gave up four runs.  That was, until Pivetta allowed three more runs to score to make the game 7-1 and essentially take the Phillies out of the game.

If Nick Pivetta cannot make it as a starter in this rotation, will he make it in any rotation?  If Nick Pivetta cannot make it as a reliever in this bullpen, will he make it in any rotation?  His arm remains promising, but if I am the Phillies, I do not bring him back in 2020.

I think back to 2007.  The Phillies traded the promising but inconsistent Gavin Floyd to the Chicago White Sox to help acquire Freddy Garcia.   Garcia ended up getting hurt and giving the Phillies very little.  Kyle Kendrick came up from Double-A and pretty much saved the Phillies season.

Had the Phillies spent the time waiting out Floyd's progress, they would not have made the playoffs in 2007.  Even though he went on to be a nice starter for the White Sox and other teams, they were trying to win and could not afford to be held back anymore. I would say the same for Nick Pivetta.

I think that Pivetta will remain attractive enough for another team with a greater threshold of patience to give him a chance, and he be a supplementary piece in a deal.  He is not enough to land something individually, but someone might give him a shot.  And they may have to deal with more growing pains.  But if the Phillies hope to win, they cannot take this chance again.

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