For us, it is no question that Zack Wheeler is the key to the Phillies 2020 season if and when it ever starts. The challenge is great. If divisional play remains in effect, the the N.L. East will likely be the most competitive division in the National League. Read about Wheeler HERE.
I believe the ideal Phillies starting rotation should be Aaron Nola, Wheeler, Jake Arrieta, Zach Eflin and Spencer Howard. We focused on Howard in our previous blog. Read HERE. That rotation can take the Phillies to the post season and into the 2020 World Series.
Wheeler is the key and might be the Phillies Front Office best free agent pitching signing in recent times but he must pitch as effective as he was in September of last season with the Mets. In five quality starts in the month, he pitched 34 innings averaging a strikeout an inning and with an ERA of 1.85 and a WHIP of 1.09.
Wheeler has a habit of pitching at Cy Young levels in parts of the second halves of the last two seasons for the Mets. In his final 11 starts of the 2018 season, he pitched to a 10-1 record. Now, all Zack has to do for the Phillies this season is be strong from the beginning to the end of an expected abbreviated season.
We made extra effort to watch Wheeler pitch in spring training games. We went to Dunedin for the opening game of the Blue Jays refurbished stadium to watch Zack pitch. Then, we saw him pitch the final spring training game of the season against the Twins at Spectrum Field.
In Wheeler’s Blue Jays start, we camped out by the left field foul pole to watch him warm up for the game. Below are videos of him warming up in the bullpen before the two national anthems and then finishing up after after they concluded.
We prefer to look ahead when we blog about Phillies baseball even if is a video of a future ace warming up before a spring training start. It seems like all the current coverage and blogs on the Phillies are about their past. So it is not surprising the big stories today in the Philly media are about Art Mahaffey and a book about Phillies history. All I can remember about him is when he pitched a good game the headline in the Inquirer always seemed to be another “Artful Job”.