Phillies RHP Zack Wheeler feels like he let his team down and is willing to pitch through pain amid their playoff run
Statistically speaking, Zack Wheeler is the best pitcher on the Philadelphia Phillies roster so far this season. In his first season in red pinstripes, the veteran right-hander is 4-0 with a 2.47 ERA through eight starts.
Unfortunately, Wheeler recently suffered an injury that even manager Joe Girardi said that “you can’t make this up” and is currently sidelined amid the team’s five-day, seven-game series against the Miami Marlins — the 30-year-old got the fingernail on his right middle finger caught on the zipper of his jeans.
“The other day, it was just one of those stupid things where I tripped a little bit, lost my balance, and my jeans kind of yanked on my hand,” Wheeler told reporters on Friday.
Wheeler continued that the nail on his finger always becomes halfway disconnected from the nail bed during the season, having first experienced this during his junior year of high school.
“My nail was already lifted off of the skin bed, so it was really easy just to catch it and rip a little more off,” Wheeler added.
While it was originally reported that Wheeler’s scheduled weekend start would be pushed back to Monday, he now might not be able to rejoin the rotation even then, possibly needing the nail to be removed.
“I’m pissed off that it happened. Really, my first thought was, ‘Man, I let these guys down,'” Wheeler said on Friday. “Because I knew we had a lot of games coming up in a short amount of time and we needed innings. Now, I’m not going to be able to do that. It really killed me inside. There’s nothing much I could do about it.”
Wheeler is not sure when he will pitch again, but he is willing to return as soon as he possibly can, even through pain.
“Whether it hurts a little bit or it’s not all the way healed, it doesn’t matter,” Wheeler said. “We’re in a playoff run and I’m trying to get back out there and pitch.”
Entering their Friday doubleheader, the Phillies hold the fifth of eight postseason spots in the National League with 20 games to go. The Marlins are looming behind them in the standings, however, being just a 1/2 game back.
If the Phillies fall further back and finish the season in third place in the National League East, they would need to be one of two National League Wild Card teams to qualify for the postseason for the first time since 2011.