Final Score: Phillies 4, Braves 0
This is for all you lovers of National League baseball.
Zack Wheeler singlehandedly carried the Phillies to victory both at the plate and on the mound. He went 2-for-3 with a double and two RBIs and pitched seven innings of one-run ball. He recorded his first double-digit strikeout game of his Phillies career and his first since Sept. 26, 2019.
If today is any indication of what’s to come this season, Wheeler has the ability to dominate any way he wants to on any given day. Last season, he got the job done through inducing groundball double plays when things got tricky. Today, he flat-out dominated the Braves lineup, getting 16 swing-and-misses and limiting the Braves’ formidable 1-2-3-4 hitters to a whopping 0-for-12 with five strikeouts.
- Bryce Harper has a knack for running into outs on the bases and that’s exactly what he did in the first inning. After lining to right field for a base hit, Harper thought he could try to beat Ronald Acuña Jr’s arm. Instead, he was tagged out at second for the final out of the inning.
- Wheeler, perhaps the Phillies’ best hitting pitcher on the team, had a first-pitch fastball and took it to right field for an RBI single. I’ll go on to say that this might rank in the top-five of most important hits by a Phillies pitcher this season.
- Rhys Hoskins, with the bases juiced, fought off a tough two-strike pitch from Morton and deposited it down the line in left for a two-out double. You can tell from his reaction at second just how much that hit meant to him.
- To the delight of everyone in attendance, Wheeler did it again. Facing the lefty Sean Newcomb, Wheeler lined an opposite field double to expand the Phillies’ lead to 4-0. It was Wheeler’s fifth career multi-hit game and the first since Aug. 26, 2019.
Shibe Vintage Sports Starting Pitching Performance
Charlie Morton: 5 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 SO, 76 pitches
Morton cruised through four but when it came time to get an out against the opposing pitcher, his relatively spotless pitching line was in jeopardy. MLB.com‘s Mark Bowman pointed out that the exit velocity of all three of the Phillies’ hits in the fifth inning was less than 90-mph. Tough break for Morton, but you have to make your pitches when facing the Phillies lineup.
Zack Wheeler: 7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 10 SO, 90 pitches
Phillies Nuggets Player of the Game: Zack Wheeler
Only National League purists (not me) wanted pitchers to hit again. Perhaps today has opened my eyes. Wheeler had a bit of trouble getting ahead of hitters to begin the game but after that, he found his groove and kept a dangerous Braves lineup hitless from the third inning onward.
The Silver Slugger and Cy Young Award campaign has begun.
Quote of the Game
Wheeler spoke on his approach at the plate:
“I’m just looking fastball,” Wheeler said. “Pitchers are going to see fastballs. I know that sounds simple and kind of dumb but it’s the truth. You’re gonna see a fastball, you just have to be ready to hit it. More than likely, it’s going to be away. You just kind of try to put the bat on the ball and hope for the best.”
Ticket IQ Next Game
- Sunday, April 4 vs. Atlanta Braves at Citizens Bank Park
- 1:05 pm ET start time
- TV: NBC Sports Philadelphia; ESPN (out-of-market only)
- Radio: Sportsradio 94 WIP
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