Zack Wheeler put on the best two-way performance Phillies Phans have seen in a long time.
“Wheels”, as he is affectionately known by on Players Weekend, was pumping on all cylinders and keeping the ball rolling for the Phillies win streak and propel their regular-season record to 2-0.
The Georgia-native signed a Five-year $118 million dollar contract that has him under team control through 2024. Post-2020 MLB 60-game season, there were rumors of the Phillies not being able to afford the remainder of his contract that had $96.5 million left. It is hard to believe that the rumors grew to possibly trading him! This would be such a detriment to all Phillies Phaithful who dream and hope for the playoffs and that third World Series crown.
Wheeler was a bit of a gamble for the Phillies to take since he had been pretty injury-prone during his career. He actually missed the 2015 and 2016 seasons recovering from Tommy John surgery. His performance through 2017 was nothing to write home about but in 2018 and 2019, Wheeler made huge strides in recovery and durability as a starting pitcher. Over those two seasons for the New York Mets, Wheeler went 23-15 with a 1.192 WHIP, 3.64 ERA, and 274 SO.
“Wheels” made his Phillies debut last season going 4-2 with a 2.92 ERA, 1.169 Whip, and 53 SO in 11 starts. The Phillies right-hander was dominant last season, but can he do it again?
The Answer, no not Allen Iverson, but maybe even better, Zack Wheeler made his first 2021 start yesterday. Zack Wheeler pitched 7 innings, gave up one hit, and struck out 10 Atlanta hitters in the 4-0 shutout against “America’s Team”. Not only did Wheeler pitch a commanding performance, but also had two hits at the plate that included a double and two RBIs. “Wheels” was Wheelin’ and Dealin’ on the mound and at the plate. Pitchers hitting is one of the most exciting things to see and that is why the National League needs to keep pitchers hitting.
Zack Wheeler is a great investment the Phillies made, and he is showing the city of brotherly love that this team can win from all angles. The Phillies bullpen has taken significant strides and not given up a run in 5.1 innings pitched this season.
This is comforting backup as opposed to last year’s bullpen performance which made it harder for the starting rotation to be confident in their relieving performances. Archie Bradley, Jose Alvarado, Hector Neris, and Connor Brogdon have all performed remarkably. Back-to-back games a Phillies reliever has struck out the side, Jose Alverado and Hector Neris respectfully.
This two-way performance was more like a Shohei Ohtani performance, but Phillies Phans got a taste of their own two-way production out of Zack Wheeler. Maybe “Wheels” will hit another home run, but not against the Phillies as he did in his first MLB homer.
Hopefully, the NL East’s new two-way phenom will keep the energy and momentum going down the stretch for the Fightin’ Phils.
Featured Image: Elizabeth Robertson/The Philadelphia Inquirer