Zack Wheeler put on a show in his first start of the 2021 season. The right-hander pitched seven shutout innings and drove in two runs to headline the Phillies’ 4-0 win over the Atlanta Braves.
Three Phillies pitchers held the Braves to one hit. And Phillies pitchers did not walk a batter.
The Phillies are off to a 2-0 start on the fresh season. The Phils, who have not had a winning season since 2011, actually started off the 2019 season at 4-0, their first three wins coming in a sweep of the Braves, who have won three straight NL East titles.
Here are three takeaways:
Wheeler signed a five-year, $118 million contract with the Phillies before the 2020 season. He went 4-2 with a 2.92 ERA in 11 starts during the shortened season last season.
Wheeler allowed only one hit and did not walk a batter in his seven innings of work. He struck out 10.
The only hit that Wheeler allowed, the only one the Braves got, came with one out in the second inning when Travis d’Arnaud hit a first-pitch fastball up the middle for a single. After that, Wheeler retired 17 straight before manager Joe Girardi took him out at 90 pitches, which was understandable given that it was his first start of the season.
Wheeler threw mostly fastballs — four-seamers and sinkers — and sliders. His four-seamer topped out at 99.8 mph in the first inning while facing Ozzie Albies. It was the fifth-hardest pitch of Wheeler’s career. He averaged 97.7 mph on the four-seamers. He got 16 swings and misses in 90 pitches.
Wheeler also had two two-out hits, both of which drove in a run. This is not bad at all, considering NL pitchers did not bat last season. Wheeler hadn’t hit in a game since September 26, 2019 when he was with the New York Mets.
Another perfect outing by the new bullpen
The Phillies’ bullpen is up to 5⅓ scoreless innings in two games.
Archie Bradley and Hector Neris followed Wheeler with scoreless work. Neris struck out the side in the ninth.
Phillies pitchers retired the final 23 Braves hitters they faced.
Adam Haseley ,who come out of Thursday’s game with a tight hamstring, was available for the game. Girardi said Haseley will likely play Sunday.
Zach Eflin pitches for the Phillies on Sunday afternoon against Ian Anderson.