By Andrew Porter

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Aaron Nola, just 22 years old, has pitched in just 21 Major League Baseball games.

But the 2014 seventh-overall draft pick of the Philadelphia Phillies carries himself like a seasoned vet, and this season — his first full one in the big leagues — he is 3-2 with a 2.89 ERA through eight starts. More importantly, at 23-17, the Phillies have been one of baseball’s biggest surprises so far.

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“Yeah, I like where I’m at right now,” Nola told Michael Barkann and Ike Reese on Wednesday’s 94WIP Mike and Ike Show. “I feel like there are still things I need to work on and I need to improve at, but I feel like as a team — we’re doing good as a team. We’re winning close games, which I think is a big key for us going down the road. I feel like we’re forming that core right now and it’s been fun so far.”

Listen: Aaron Nola on the 94WIP Mike & Ike Show

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Coming into the season, the Phillies were projected to be the worst team in baseball and their starting pitching was a big question mark. Through 40 games, the Phils have a 3.83 team ERA, 12th best in the MLB and sixth best in the National League.

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“I didn’t feel like there was no pressure [coming into the season],” the former LSU standout said. “I feel like we wanted to accept that challenge. A lot of people thought we weren’t gonna really do much and they still think that. We have a lot of doubters out there, but we want to prove them wrong. We want to try and go out there and do the best that we can be. Our goal as a pitching staff, I feel like, is just to limit runs every game and try to keep the guys in the game as long as possible. And I feel like we’ve done that for the most part, we’ve given the hitters a chance to come back and score some clutch runs and they have.”