Phillies Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola aren't fans of the six-man rotation, extra rest

Wheeler has made it clear that he is not a fan of extra rest, and Nola's wonky outing helps prove his point.
Philadelphia Phillies starter Zack Wheeler
Philadelphia Phillies starter Zack Wheeler / Dylan Buell/GettyImages

Philadelphia Phillies ace Zack Wheeler's last start was not his best outing of the young season. On paper, his stats — 5 IP, 5 H, 1 BB, 1 ER, 6 K and a win — against the Los Angeles Angels would be numbers that many major league hurlers would like to put up on a consistent basis. Those numbers don't tell the whole story, though.

Despite going five frames and locking up the win for his club, Wheeler labored for much of the game. The right-hander threw over 20 pitches in each of the first three innings. Overall, he accumulated a pitch count of 106 over five innings, a number that the ace would like to improve upon.

Phillies' Zack Wheeler, Aaron Nola don't think a six-man rotation works

Wheeler spoke about his outing after the game on Wednesday. NBC Sports Philadelphia's Corey Seidman noted that the Phillies' ace did not feel comfortable after the extra day off he picked up due to the club using a six-man rotation last week.

"I think it was more just routine this time, having more days rest, not being as sharp, I think that's part of it," Wheeler said, per Seidman.

Does Wheeler have a point?

Wheeler's splits suggest that his viewpoint on extra rest has some validation. Over the course of his career, the 33-year-old hurler has better numbers when pitching on regular rest as opposed to extended time off.

When Wheeler pitches on regular rest, he has a 3.02 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP, and opposing hitters have hit just .219 against him. On five days rest, his career ERA balloons to 3.72 with a WHIP of 1.26 and a batting average against of .251.

With six or more days of rest, Wheeler's numbers are also inflated. For his career, he has a 3.79 ERA, a 1.21 WHIP, and a .243 batting average against.

Aaron Nola also affected by extra rest on Friday

As a veteran pitcher, Wheeler has his routine. Extra days off throw that consistency off kilter. The added days in between starts may not just be limited to Wheeler. Aaron Nola received an extra two days rest between starts prior to struggling in Friday night's Phillies win against the San Francisco Giants.

Per Paul Hagen of NBC Sports Philadelphia, Nola felt a bit out of sync to start the game and that the extra days off could have been a factor. The Phillies' No. 2 pitcher lacked command early as he labored through the second inning. The right-hander walked four batters in the frame, allowing two earned runs on 46 pitches.

With the return of Taijuan Walker and the stellar pitching of Spencer Turnbull, the club's rotation is in a state of flux. The club has plans to still use Turnbull in a larger role given his productivity to this point.

Whatever final route Rob Thomson decides to take, the Phillies would be wise to listen to their ace and avoid a six-man rotation. Wheeler has been off to a spectacular start this season. Keeping him on regular rest would benefit both the pitcher and the team.