Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
Although the Philadelphia Phillies were eliminated by the Arizona Diamondbacks in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series, it was of no fault to Zack Wheeler, who pitched 1.2 scoreless innings out of the bullpen.
Wheeler’s relief appearance came three days after he held the Diamondbacks to just one run over seven innings in a Game 5 win. On Tuesday night, he entered in the top of the seventh with the Phillies already trailing 4-2.
Despite the right-hander keeping their deficit at two runs, what had been a potent Phillies lineup was unable to mount a comeback.
Wheeler’s performance was the latest in what’s been a strong October showing over the past two years now. That caught the attention of Walker Buehler, who touted Wheeler as being a pitcher you can trust in the postseason, via the “Just Baseball Fans” show:
“I think in Philly, the thing we don’t talk about enough is Wheeler and what he’s been doing the past couple playoffs. He was in New York for a long time and didn’t really pitch in those big games as much. Now these past two years he’s really kind of put himself in that, ‘Who would you want in a huge game?’ I think Zack Wheeler has to be in that conversation.”
Wheeler made his MLB debut with the New York Mets in 2013 but due to Tommy John surgery that forced him to miss the 2015 and 2016 seasons, was not with the team for their postseason appearances that year. The Mets only reached the playoffs those years in Wheeler’s seven seasons under contract with the club.
Despite some inconsistent performances upon returning from Tommy John, Wheeler signed a five-year, $118 million contract as a free agent with the Phillies in December 2019. He’s proceeded to become one of the top pitchers in baseball over the past four seasons.
During his time in Philadelphia, Wheeler is 43-25 with a 3.06 ERA and 1.05 WHIP across 101 starts. That’s an improvement on finishing 44-38 with a 3.77 ERA and 1.29 WHIP in 126 starts during five seasons pitching for the Mets.
Wheeler’s ascension and growing reputation is similar to one that Buehler previously enjoyed when he began to get touted as the new ace of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Zack Wheeler postseason stats
Due to some tough-luck losses, Whehler is just 4-3 in 11 career postseason games (10 starts). He’s pitched to a 2.42 ERA and held opponents to a .161/.210/.250 batting line while collecting 68 strikeouts and only walking 10 across 63.1 innings in October.
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