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Wheeler impresses in Phillies debut as bats secure first win

By: Rebecca Serad, Sports Talk Philly Staff 

Final: Philadelphia Phillies 7, Miami Marlins 1

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. — It's safe to assume that the Philadelphia Phillies (1-1) are grateful that starting pitcher Zack Wheeler's wife gave birth to the couple's first child this past Monday instead of today, which was her original due date. The new Phillie made a fantastic first impression in his dominating performance against the Miami Marlins (1-1). Over seven strong innings, the right-hander allowed one run on five hits. Wheeler struck out four batters and only walked two. He induced four double plays and was the first Phillie to do so since Cliff Lee in 2012.

Although the bats were largely quiet for the first half of the game, they woke up in a big way to support Wheeler. Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto and Jean Segura each recorded their first hit of the season. Realmuto's first hit of 2020 was the most impressive, visually, as it was a monster home-run to the deepest part of the ballpark with an exit velocity of 108.8 mph. However, Harper's was an intriguing use of strategy that may be a positive indication of things to come. The Phils' right fielder decided to drop a bunt down the third base line, far from the infielders who were implementing a defensive shift during his at-bat. The move was unexpected from a hitter of his caliber, but it was effective in keeping the inning alive and setting up the three-run homer by Realmuto. This change in approach should not be overlooked and isn't reflected in the box score. Phil Gosselin also contributed with his first career multi-homer game, while Didi Gregorius hit his second homer in as many days.

While it was good to see the hitters have patience at the plate and total nine walks in the game, only two of those nine runners ended up scoring. The Phillies left far too many men on base, including two in the first inning and three in the second inning, and need to improve this aspect of their play if they want to contend in the shortened 2020 season.

WP: Zack Wheeler (1-0, 1.29 ERA)  ❖  LP: Alex Vesia (0-1, 27.00 ERA)


Hub:   Game Summary   ❖   Starting Pitchers   ❖   At the Plate   ❖   Bullpen   ❖   What's Next

Game Summary

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
MIA 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 6 0
PHI
0 1 0 0 0 2 3 1 X 7 7 0

The Phillies got the scoring started in the game. Didi Gregorius led off the bottom of the second inning with a second-deck homer to right field. The home-run was the shortstop's second in the first two games of the season. Scott Kingery and Phil Gosselin followed with back-to-back walks to put runners on first and second with no outs for Roman Quinn. He attempted to bunt the runners over, but the bunt hung in the air for too long and was caught in foul territory. Andrew McCutchen flew out to left field for the second out of the inning. Rhys Hoskins walked to load the bases. However, Bryce Harper struck out for the final out of the inning, stranding the runners.

The Marlins tied it up in the top of the fifth inning. With one out, Brian Anderson walked. Garrett Cooper followed with a single to put runners on first and second for Miguel Rojas. The Marlins shortstop singled to center field to knock in Anderson from second base. Chad Wallach grounded into a double play to end the threat.

The Phils took the lead again in the bottom of the sixth. With two outs, Kingery walked for the second time in the game. It was the eighth time in the game that the Phillies had been walked by Marlins' pitchers, and it seemed that this one would be wasted like the previous seven had been. Thankfully, Gosselin had other plans. The designated hitter smacked a home-run over the left field wall to give the Phillies a 3-1 lead.  Quinn flied out to left field to finish the frame.

The Phillies added on to their lead in their half of the seventh inning. After McCutchen grounded out to start the inning, Hoskins walked for the third time in the game. He advanced to second on Harper's first hit of the season: a perfectly placed bunt down the third baseline that evaded the shifted Marlins defense. J.T. Realmuto got his first hit of the season in the form of a massive homer to dead center field that gave the Phils a 6-1 lead. Jean Segura followed with a single to center field. Ultimately, he was stranded on first base as Gregorius and Kingery were retired on a fly out and a strikeout, respectively, to end the inning.

The Phils tacked on another run in the bottom of the eighth inning. Gosselin led off the inning with his second home-run of the game. It marked the first career multi-homer game of the utility player's career. The next three batters were retired in order, but the Phillies had scored more than enough runs to secure the victory.

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Starting Pitchers

  IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Caleb Smith 3.0 1 1 1 6 3 1 3.00
Zack Wheeler 7.0 5 1 1 2 4 0 1.29

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At the Plate

Marlins

  • Miguel Rojas: 2-3, 2B, RBI, .667 AVG
  • Brian Anderson: 1-2, R, .333 AVG
  • Jonathan Villar: 1-3, .143 AVG

Phillies

  • Phil Gosselin: 3-3, 2 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 1.000 AVG
  • J.T. Realmuto: 1-4, R, HR, 3 RBI, .125 AVG
  • Didi Gregorius: 1-4, R, HR, RBI, .429 AVG

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Bullpen

Marlins

  • Nick Neidert (4th, 5th, 6th): 2.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 SO, 0 HR, 0.00 ERA
  • Alex Vesia (6th): 0.2 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO, 1 HR, 27.00 ERA
  • Ryne Stanek (7th): 1.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO, 1 HR, 27.00 ERA
  • Stephen Tarpley (8th): 1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 SO, 1 HR, 9.00 ERA

Phillies

  • Tommy Hunter (8th): 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO, 0 HR, 0.00 ERA
  • Deolis Guerra (9th): 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO, 0 HR, 0.00 ERA

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What's Next

  • Sunday, July 26, 2020: vs. Miami Marlins, 1:05 p.m.
    • Philadelphia - Citizens Bank Park
    • RHP José Ureña (2019: 4-10, 5.21 ERA) vs. RHP Vince Velasquez (2019: 7-8, 4.91 ERA)
    • TV: NBCSP; Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP, WTTM 1680

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