Zack Wheeler’s order was off because he’s been running through his six innings, but the Phillies are playing so well now that it didn’t matter. They pounced on the Marlins early on, continuing to hit the ball hard and playing a stronger defense in their 4-1 win, their sixth in a row.
You want to get in the bad teams early and that’s exactly what the Phillies have been doing for the past two weeks. They crossed the board again in the first half on Tuesday and outplayed their opponent 17-1 in the first half of their last 11 games.
The Feliz have had their problems with Marilyn for years but not recently. Tuesday’s win was their sixth in the last seven games against Miami.
The Phils earned 61-48 after winning 11 of 12. They entered the night with a 92.8% chance of making the playoffs, according to the baseball reference, and that percentage only increased.
They were never late on a night that included a 32 and 33 minute rain delay. Wheeler needed 59 shots to work during the first three goalless rounds before being conceded by JJ Bledi with Homer in the fourth inning. Immediately, JT Realmuto and Jean Segura responded with single shots to the left.
This was probably the most important Realmuto was like Phillie. Over his last 18 games, he’s hit .400 with five doubles, two, six hurdles, and 19 RBI.
“I always thought (his strength) would come back,” coach Rob Thompson said. “He’s very athletic and very strong, he’s in very good shape. It will be a while before that goes away, I think.”
The Phillies needed it all with Bryce Harper out and Kyle Schwarber no longer shining at record pace.
“When he’s pushing that racket, it’s on a different level,” Wheeler said of his fellow battery. “He does all his duties and is the best in the game for a reason.
“Even earlier this year when he was struggling a little bit, it was nice to be behind the board. First of all, he calls a great game, I don’t really have to throw it away that much. Some shooters like to call their own, but it’s mostly the caller game for me.”
Segura, too, has been rocking pretty well the past few nights. He had five hits on six rackets at one point from Saturday night through Tuesday’s opener against Miami.
Wheeler, an ace without a doubt, did what the greats do by limiting damage even without his best. The Marlins caught one run in five strokes over the course of six innings despite walking three times. It helped that Miami, who averaged 1.7 runs over their last 10 games, couldn’t make it.
“Maybe back in the day, I wouldn’t have gotten out of it like I did tonight,” Wheeler said. “It was hard, it was hard. I felt like when I did a throw everything went fine but when I didn’t I didn’t know where the ball was going. Only one of those days for me was I was a little out of sync. It was definitely tough and I was happy to get out of there by six runs.”
Despite feeling comfortable, Wheeler improved to 11-5 with a 2.63 ERA from 21 starts.
This was an important win for Phils given how the rest of the week was shaping up. They will face Sandy Alcantara Wednesday, Max Scherzer Friday and Jacob Degrom Saturday. It wasn’t much easier on Sunday against Chris Bassett, who fired 19 straight games without goals for the Mets.
This week will be a tough test but it should be welcomed by the opposing team. Gotta beat the best to be the best.
“It’s a challenge we can’t avoid,” Thompson said. “We’re having some real bowlers in the next six days. We just have to take the same approach we did – get good pitches to hit and just battle.”
As it has been the subject for weeks, Phils received contributions from all over the venue on Tuesday night. Schwarber, Realmuto, and Segura had multi-hit games. Alec Bohm led on tour and scored two goals in the first half of Realmuto. Edmundo Sosa has made many seemingly easy difficult plays in a short time and has been announced defensively so far. Jose Alvarado, David Robertson and Ceranthon Dominguez combined in three goalless rounds to seal it off.
Velez is looking to win another series Wednesday night against Alcantara (10-4, 1.88) and the Marlins when Noah Syndergaard (6-8, 4.02) makes his second start with the team.
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