Zack Wheeler is in control: Phillies starter has dominated in playoffs — as he savors it all

Phillies Start NLCS Strong With a Dominant Performance from Zack Wheeler

The first game of the 2023 National League Championship Series saw an impressive display of pitching from Zack Wheeler of the Philadelphia Phillies. Wheeler’s fastball shattered Corbin Carroll’s bat, but Carroll still managed to get a hit. This gave the Arizona Diamondbacks an early opportunity to dictate the game. However, Wheeler and the Phillies remained in control as they built a five-run lead and retired 15 straight batters. The final score was 5-3 in favor of the Phillies.

Wheeler, known for his precise control and powerful pitching, has been exceptional in the postseason. He has only given up one walk in 19 innings, along with 26 strikeouts and a 2.37 ERA. The Phillies’ pitching duo of Wheeler and Aaron Nola has been a driving force for the team in the playoffs. In fact, their combined postseason stats rival those of the legendary Steve Carlton, the greatest pitcher in Phillies history.

Manager Rob Thomson praised Wheeler’s complete performance on the mound, highlighting his command, stuff, power, and competitive nature. Despite the risks involved in signing Wheeler, the Phillies’ former general manager, Matt Klentak, took a chance on him. This decision has paid off immensely, as Wheeler has found his groove and solidified his role as a trustworthy ace.

Wheeler’s chemistry with catcher J.T. Realmuto has also contributed to his success. Their ability to control the running game has limited stolen base attempts against Wheeler. He takes pride in his ability to prevent opponents from running on him and sees it as a crucial aspect of his role on the team.

Wheeler has always dreamed of pitching in the playoffs and cherishes the electrifying atmosphere of October baseball. He missed out on that opportunity with the Mets in 2015 but relished the chance to experience it last year with the Phillies. Now, he is relishing the moment once again and making the most of his playoff run.

The Phillies are now three wins away from returning to the World Series. With Wheeler’s dominant performance in Game 1, the team has set the tone for the series and demonstrated their championship aspirations. As Wheeler reflects on his journey and appreciates the significance of these moments, he remains focused on delivering more outstanding performances in the games to come.


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