Semi No to Best Night for Zack Wheeler and Nick Castellanos as Phil Pound Sox – NBC Sports Philadelphia

Rob Thompson may have breathed a sigh of relief when Corey Lee sent a single off Bryce Harper to right field in the eighth inning on Saturday night.

His star, Zach Wheeler, was at 105 pitches with a lead of nine runs and eight runs remaining in an unsuccessful effort. It's a tough spot for a manager who has to keep the long game in mind, especially with a pitcher as crucial to the Phillies' ultimate goal as Wheeler.

It didn't look like a fair fight on paper — one of the two or three best starters in baseball against the worst team in either league — and boy, was it not the case.

Wheeler's night started with a troubling 10-pitch walk off Nicky Lopez but he retired the next 13 without the ball leaving the field. His only base runner through the eighth inning was a pinch hitter with one out in the fifth inning. He opened the eighth on 101 pitches so he would have needed back-to-back single-digit innings, which is highly unlikely.

Coincidentally, this was the same point in the game at which Wheeler gave up a no-hit showing last June 8 against the Tigers, when he gave up a single with one out in the eighth.

The Phillies scored three runs in the second inning and two each in the fifth, sixth and seventh in a 9–5 win. Chicago battled back and scored all five of its runs off Ricardo Pinto in the ninth inning. The Phils didn't begin to imagine they would need to go for Jose Alvarado but they did for the eventual exit.

See also  D.C. United put two players on leave after altercation, racial slur allegation: sources

Thompson faced tough decisions this week because of how well his key players performed. Guard Suarez threw a no-hitter on Tuesday that would have been taken out had he put another man on base. Spencer Turnbull carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning on Friday.

All these pitches add up. Michael Lorenzen threw 124 no-hitters last August, then had an 8.01 ERA the rest of the season. It's common knowledge that Johan Santana is never the same again after 134 no-shots. It doesn't always work out that way, but there's no need to come across as a pitcher who's had as big a workload as anyone else over the past five years.

The Phillies' rotation has been incredibly good this season and is at its best this week. These are their last five starts:

· Zach Wheeler: 7⅓ IP, 1 H, 0 R, 8 K

· Spencer Turnbull: 7 ib, 1 h, 0 t

· Christopher Sanchez: 6 IP, 0 ER, 10 K

Goalkeeper Suarez: 9 IP, 0 R, 8 K

· Aaron Nola: 7⅓ IP, 1 R, 9 K

entirely: 36⅔ IP, 18 H, 1 ER, 7 BB, 41 K

After sweeping the National League's worst Rockies, the Phillies outscored the American League's worst White Sox team 16-5 in back-to-back wins. The Phils are 13-8 after winning five straight games and eight of 10. You can only play the team in front of you that night and they have done a great job this week of capitalizing on their opponents' woes.

This White Sox team isn't just plain bad, it's a special kind of atrocity. They never spend money on starters, but over the past two years they have stripped their roster of almost every useful veteran without instilling much young talent. Without the injured Luis Robert Jr., they have one player who could be in the lineup every day in Eloy Jimenez, whose career has been marred by injuries.

See also  The Cowboys and their dominant defense continue to love Tryvon Diggs, even though the advanced stats don't

But that's not the Phillies' problem. You only get so many chances against the worst teams in baseball and they did what they were supposed to do: jump out to an early lead and stifle clubs that are expected to lose 100+ games.

Wheeler has received just five innings of support in his first four starts and that nearly tripled on Saturday.

Brandon Marsh opened the scoring when he caught a breakout changeup from former Braves right-hander Mike Soroka, and crushed it over the wall in right-center for a two-run homer.

Nick Castellanos followed with a triple from the top of the wall to right, his first extra base hit of the season in his 79th appearance. He scored on a two-run single and a two-run hit to left field by Johan Rojas.

Castellanos had his best night of the season after going hitless in his last 16 at-bats. He had an opposite-field triple, an opposite-field single, and another hit single up the middle to drive in two runs, and a walk. He'll take any kind of three-pointer, but it's often a promising sign when he hits the ball hard the other way.

Rojas has been productive at the plate recently, going 11-for-27 (.385) over the last nine games with two doubles, two walks and four stolen bases. He hit .245 with a .315 on-base percentage. If he finishes the season with those numbers, it will be a win for the Phillies thanks to his outstanding defense and ability to steal bases practically any time he gets to it. He might be the fastest player on a team that includes Trea Turner.

See also  Bengals' willingness to "challenge" the looming contract negotiations

Turner (.353 BA) stayed hot with two hits, including a double.

The Phillies go to the rake on Sunday afternoon with Nola on the mound.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *