Zack Wheeler is among the Phillies fans can thank for the team’s resurgence.
Netflix hit series Stranger Things isn’t the only thing giving us 1980s nostalgia lately.
Philadelphia Phillies ace Zack Wheeler is doing the same in his third season in red pinstripes.
Entering his Friday series opener start opposite the St. Louis Cardinals and fellow veteran right-hander Adam Wainwright, the Phillies pitcher strung together 12 starts between April 28 and July 3 in which he recorded a 1.67 ERA. Wheeler recorded a similar stretch last season, posting a 1.64 ERA over a dozen starts between May 1 to July 2.
The previous Phillies pitcher to record a 1.67 ERA or lower over a 12-start span in two different seasons was Hall of Fame left-hander Steve Carlton — who fittingly shined as a Cardinal before being dealt to Philadelphia after the 1971 season.
Carlton recorded a 1.19 ERA in 12 starts during his first season with the Phillies in 1972. Eight years later, during the 1980 World Series championship season, the left-hander posted a 1.47 ERA through a dozen-start stretch.
“Any time you are in the company of ‘Lefty,’ you know you are doing something right,” Phillies broadcaster Ben Davis said before Friday’s contest.
Wheeler did not disappoint and he went on to remain lights-out again, tossing seven scoreless innings in his second straight start — both against the Cardinals.
The 32-year-old Wheeler now has a 1.53 ERA over his last 13 outings and is expected to take the mound once more before the All-Star break in Los Angeles.
Earlier this season, Wheeler joined Carlton on another short list of Phillies greats:
Wheeler’s 2022 season numbers (2.46 ERA, 1.053 WHIP, 104-21 SO/BB) just might be good enough to earn his second career All-Star nod, but imagine how impressive they’d look if he didn’t allow 12 earned runs across 12 2/3 innings in his first three starts.