Phillies: Zack Wheeler shines in Game 1 victory over Yankees
By Matt Rappa
Phillies right-hander Zack Wheeler improves to 2-0 following an impressive start against Yankees
Facing their former left-handed starting pitcher J.A. Happ, the Philadelphia Phillies came away with their second win of the season in the first half of the twin bill doubleheader against the New York Yankees on Wednesday.
The game was anything but the ordinary; the Yankees batted last as the home team, but still donned their road gray uniforms, with the Phillies donning their white, red pinstriped uniforms.
Due to an agreement between MLB and the MLBPA for the shortened season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the game lasted just seven innings.
There was a fifth-inning stretch. Yankees batters had their walk-up music played, but not the Phillies’ batters.
Audible, banging drums could be heard from fans just outside the Ashburn Alley gates in center field. Phillies batters hit home runs, but the Liberty Bell did not go off. More fan cardboard cutouts were installed, stretching across at least half of the rows in the lower bowl, excluding the outfield.
You name something you have never seen in a Major League Baseball game before, and, chances are it probably happened.
Nonetheless, Zack Wheeler tossed six strong innings on 87 pitches; he yielded just six hits, three runs (two earned), and two walks, while striking out two batters.
The game would have ended in an 11-3 rout, however southpaw reliever Austin Davis surrendered four hits and four runs in the seventh, including a three-run home run to Aaron Judge — increasing his home run total to seven and RBI total to 17 through 10 Yankees games. Trevor Kelley then entered and recorded another out, before Hector Neris shut the door with a one-pitch save to secure the 11-7 win.
Had Wheeler stayed in and completed the seventh, it would have been just his second career complete game and his first since 2014 with the New York Mets. After allowing three runs (two earned via a Brett Gardner two-run home run) through the first two innings, the right-hander cruised through the remaining five, en route to his second win in as many starts of 2020. Along with his impressive 2-0 record, Wheeler also has a 2.08 ERA to his credit.
The Phillies offense came alive with 11 runs scored via as many hits spanning 33 at-bats; their batters also walked seven times, two each by Andrew McCutchen and J.T. Realmuto. Three of the 11 hits went for extra bases (Gosselin double, Harper and Realmuto home runs). Realmuto was also the only Phillies batter to log multiple hits, improving his season slash line to .300/.364/.600 thanks to the walks, a solo home run and RBI single.
The Phillies are now 2-3, whereas the Yankees fell to 8-2.