Phillies turn to Bailey Falter in place of injured ace Zack Wheeler

Zack Wheeler #45 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
Zack Wheeler #45 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /

The Phillies are dealing with another injury, as Zack Wheeler heads to the IL.

First, it was Jean Segura and Bryce Harper, followed by Kyle Schwarber and Brandon Marsh. Now, the Philadelphia Phillies will have to deal with another injured list stint for a major impact player on their roster.

Just before Aaron Nola was set to take the mound before his dominating complete-game shutout that completed a four-game sweep of the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday, the Phillies announced that 2021 National League Cy Young finalist Zack Wheeler would be shelved with right forearm tendinitis. The right-hander was placed on the 15-day injured list, retroactive to August 22.

The Phillies believe that Wheeler’s time on the injured list may be limited to just two starts. Fans are also hopeful that Wheeler will miss only a short amount of time. Losing a starting pitcher in the stretch run of a playoff race is never ideal, especially with the lack of starting pitcher depth that the Phillies currently have.

Bailey Falter will start in place of Wheeler in Friday’s series opener against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Falter has been serviceable as a spot starter this season — posting a 4.40 ERA over eight starts. Cristopher Sanchez pitched well on Wednesday against the Reds — going six innings, surrendering three runs, and striking out seven opposing hitters. Both left-handers might be reliable for a start or two, but not for a long-term spot in the rotation as of yet.

It is crucial for the rest of the Phillies starting rotation to stay healthy. The club is already without Zach Eflin, who threw Thursday — but it is unclear whether he can return in 2022:

The Phillies have been resilient this season — maintaining their spot in the Wild Card chase. They actually gained ground on the San Diego Padres and Milwaukee Brewers while Bryce Harper was sidelined. Entering Friday, the Phillies hold a 2 1/2-game lead over the Padres for the second Wild Card spot.

The Phils will be asked to be resilient at least one more time as they lose Wheeler, hopefully, just for a couple of starts.

More. Aaron Nola shutout latest proof that Phillies need to lock ace up now. light