ATLANTA — The Phillies beat the Braves 2-1 on Saturday, thanks in large part to Zach Wheeler’s best start of his career.
The Phillies ace felt it, hitting 98 mph three times in the first inning and throwing at least 27 pitches of at least 97 mph. Wheeler’s two-seamer was a mile faster than his season average and hit the inside corner to knock out a Braves hitter. . He struck out dangerous Austin Riley and Sean Murphy twice each, and retired in all four against lefty Matt Olson.
Wheeler barely got a chance to face Olson in the end. He had 97 pitches through the seventh, but manager Rob Thomson said he had two more hitters in the eighth, Michael Harris II and Ronald Acuna Jr. Thomson said Wheeler could stay and face Olson if both of them go out. The right-hander immediately struck out Harris and Acuña, and grounded Olson on two pitches.
8 innings, 3 hits, no runs, 12 strikeouts. Superiority.
“He was all right,” Thomson said. “The two-seamer bit me. They’ve been carving balls into our dugout all day.”
In the fourth inning, Wheeler benefited from a defensive defense that prevented third baseman Alec Bohm from giving up an excellent run. With one out and second base, a red-hot Marcel Ozuna hit a ground ball to the third base line, and Bohm dived right and threw it off his knee. If Bohm did not grab the ball, the score would go in, putting Ozuna in scoring position and instead forcing a high-tension pitch from Wheeler, who was removed from the inning after two balls.
“Big, big, great play,” Thomson said. “And the mental stability of staying on the ground and skipping to first base because I knew I had time. It’s grown a lot, and it’s really great.” “
The Braves have won five consecutive National League East titles and are the league’s best offensive team as of 2023. Still, Wheeler started 11 games for the Phillies against the Braves, going 5-2 with a 2.10 ERA.
He is a big pitcher who is likely to compete with his rivals in this district.
“They are an attacking team, so you need to be actively involved in that,” he said. “I throw a lot of strikes, and that sort of thing goes hand in hand with them being aggressive. You will have to pay the price.” Very hardworking.
“I know this line-up very well. They have some new players, but I know them very well, where to go at a certain time.”
The Phils are 25-27 and are looking for a four-game winning streak against No. 1 Atlanta at Sunday Night Baseball. Wheeler’s long run was particularly important, with Dylan Covey making his first start as a Philly in the final game.
The Braves’ Charlie Morton was also pinned early, reaching a top speed of 98 mph, but the Phillies were able to reach him in the fifth inning in production from the bottom. Brandon Marsh singled to start and Cody Clemens doubled to put them in scoring position. Bryson Stott followed with a sacrifice fly, and Trea Turner doubled to make it his second straight RBI game.
Clemens continues production in a part-time role. 333 with 4 homers, 3 doubles and 10 RBIs in his last 12 starts. He basically claimed the role Darrick Hall had earlier in the season, starting first base against a right-handed pitcher. Hall will begin his rehab duties in Clearwater on Tuesday, but will need to give it his all to return to the majors given the length of his thumb sprain and Clemens’ success.
Turner may finally be in the early stages of good times. He has hit in consecutive games for the first time all season and has slugged in three of his last four games.
“I’m getting there, getting closer,” Turner said. “The stats aren’t that crazy, but the quality of his at bats has improved, he seems to be putting the ball in play and doing what he wants. I feel much better and have more confidence.”
“Today was really good. I’ve made a few adjustments again and it felt really good. Strikeouts are coming down. Just try to be consistent. All good signs. Just get fired up.”
Craig Kimbrel capped off the win with his 401st save a day after becoming the eighth member of the 400 Saves Club. After the big moment on Friday night, he joked that he still has an hour to train because he has a match to win the next day. they won. Kimbrel allowed a solo home run to Sean Murphy from one out, but Ozuna and Eddie Rosario were ejected to end the game and give the Phillies their first chance at the 2023 NL East Series.
https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/sports/mlb/philadelphia-phillies/phillies-shut-down-braves-thanks-to-one-of-the-best-starts-of-zack-wheelers-career/3574685/ Zach Wheeler’s one of the best starts of his career helps Phillies shut out Braves – NBC10 Philadelphia