Phillies: Zack Wheeler, Aaron Nola strong in twin bill split
By Matt Rappa
Phillies starters Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola were strong against the Yankees
Going into their twin bill doubleheader on Wednesday, the Philadelphia Phillies had high hopes for their two best starting pitchers — Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler — to silence the red-hot New York Yankees lineup.
To a large extent, they did just that; in Game 1, Wheeler tossed six innings and allowed just two earned runs as the Phillies went on to win, 11-7. Nola performed even better in Game 2, allowing just one run through as many innings. Also, the right-hander notched his 13th career double-digit strikeout game — tying a single-game career-high with 12.
Other Nola Notables:
- 10 strikeouts in first 16 batters faced
- 3rd Phillies pitcher since 2014 with at least 12 strikeouts and zero walks
- 3rd Phillies pitcher with double-digit strikeouts vs. Yankees (Curt Schilling, Brett Myers)
The Phillies’ bullpen nearly blew Game 1, but end up doing so in the seventh and final inning of Game 2, with Tommy Hunter allowing two runs on four hits while failing to record an out. The Phillies went on to lose, 3-1, with their lone run scored coming via an Andrew Knapp RBI single. They recorded just three hits in the defeat.
The only earned runs Wheeler allowed in Game 1 came from a two-run blast to Brett Gardner in the second. Likewise, Nola’s lone earned run allowed was a second-inning solo shot to Luke Voit.
It is hard to ask for anything more out of the two, considering the circumstances regarding the unprecedented 2020 season. The two starters combined to allow just nine hits and three earned runs in 12 innings during the doubleheader, but the Phillies bullpen yielded 10 hits and six earned runs in just two innings.
The performance of Phillies relievers, coupled with a silent offense in Game 2, ultimately led to the doubleheader split.
So far this season, the Phillies’ 11-man bullpen has yielded a combined 17 runs across 16 2/3 innings, along with a 9.18 ERA and .338 opponents’ batting average. Two of those runs came from Hunter in Game 2, who was charged with the losing decision.
The Phillies have now lost two of their three games so far in the series against the Yankees. They will look to salvage the split on Thursday, before welcoming the Atlanta Braves in town for a four-game National League East division set.