This Phillies team is a lot of fun to watch, huh?
For the second game in a row, the Phillies defeated the Atlanta Braves, and this time they didn’t need any additional innings to do so. Zack Wheeler, Archie Bradley and Hector Neris absolutely baffled Atlanta, allowing only one base runner in the entire game. They combined for 14 strikeouts, zero walks and one hit in nine innings.
Wheeler made things exciting at first, when he hit 100 MPH on the radar in the first inning. Technically, the pitch was “only” 99.8 MPH, but so what? It’s still absolutely amazing to see Wheeler throw faster, and hopefully he’ll find that extra .2 MPH sometime soon.
Wheeler only seemed to get better as the game progressed. After allowing Travis d’Arnaud a single in the second inning, he retired the next seventeen batters he faced and came out after seven innings having thrown only 90 pitches. He recorded 10 strikeouts and 16 puffs.
Archie Bradley and Hector Neris picked up right where Wheeler left off. Bradley pitched a quick eighth inning, throwing just nine pitches, seven of which were strikes. Hector’s speed dropped for the second game in a row, which is a bit worrisome, but he still managed to strike out to the side in the ninth, so I’m not going to worry about him just yet.
The top four hitters in the Braves’ lineup, Ronald Acuña Jr., Ozzie Albies, Freddie Freeman and Marcell Ozuna, have had a combined 3/31 with 10 strikeouts so far, and I can’t even begin to explain how well they are. feel. to see the Phillies pitching take down this mighty Atlanta lineup. This will be a great divisional race.
Zack Wheeler from Silver Slugger?
I’m still in favor of the universal designated hitter, but if we have to watch pitchers hit for one more season, this is the way to do it.
Zack Wheeler upped the clutch at the plate twice today. In the fifth inning, he came in with two outs and two running backs. He singled out Charlie Morton to hit in the game’s first run, and then he himself scored two batters later on a double by Rhys Hoskins. In the next inning, he came back up to the plate with two outs, this time hitting an RBI double to put the Phillies up 4-0. With two hits, two RBIs and a run scored, Wheeler was the best offensive player on the team for the day.
Wheeler’s offensive prowess shouldn’t come as a total surprise. Since 2018, Zack Wheeler ranks third among pitchers in wOBA (minimum 100 AP). The only pitchers ahead of him are Zack Greinke (.299) who plays in the American League now, and German Marquez (.262) who plays half of his games at Coors Field. With his outstanding performance today, Wheeler is on his way to becoming the latest pitcher to win a Silver Slugger award.
A couple of less than good things about the game.
I’m so high on this game that I don’t really want to point out anything negative, but I have to do my due diligence here.
- Bryce was ejected on the bases for the second straight game. He’s an aggressive baserunner, and sometimes that means he’ll come out. That’s more than fine, as long as you manage to be sure more often than if you don’t move forward.
- Jean Segura struck out three times today, and those strikeouts came with a lot of embarrassing swings. Jean’s strikeouts are something to watch out for this year, because his K% absolutely skyrocketed in 2020 (career K%: 13.7%, 2020 K%: 20.7%).
- I’m very excited that Roman Quinn is planning to play more this season, but it’s a good thing if he can really turn those touches into hits. 0/1 so far, Roman.
Until next time
Zach Eflin takes the mound tomorrow, looking to turn it into a back-to-back Zack attack (I guess he should say “Zac (k / h)”). He will face young right-hander Ian Anderson. Adam Haseley is expected to return to the starting lineup.