The Phillies jumped out to a crucial 1-0 series lead in the NLCS on the backs of Zack Wheeler, Kyle Schwarber and Bryce Harper. Wheeler had a postseason pitching performance for the ages, while Schwarber and Harper provided the only offense of the night with solo blasts.
Wheeler was absolutely masterful on Tuesday night, holding a dangerous San Diego Padres team to only one hit and one walk across 7.0 scoreless innings. He had all of his pitches working in this one, and made Padres hitters look silly, fanning eight.
Many fans were surprised to see Manager Rob Thomson go to the bullpen in the eighth inning with Wheeler’s pitch count only at 83. However, Thomson has been pushing all the right buttons ever since he took over, and that was certainly the case last night. Seranthony Domínguez retired the side in order in the eighth, while José Alvarado worked around a walk and a potentially disastrous throwing error from Alec Bohm to sink the Padres.
The Phillies didn’t get much going at the plate, mustering only three hits and one walk, but it proved to be enough. Harper muscled a high fly ball over the left field fence in the fourth inning to give the Phils a 1-0 lead, and Schwarber launched one of the longest home runs in postseason history into the upper deck in right field in the sixth to double the lead. That would be it for the scoring in game one of this NLCS, but with the way Wheeler was pitching, that would do just fine.
Taking game one on the road was crucial for a phone team that has thrived as the underdog all month long. They took the first game against both the Cardinals and Braves, and are hoping it leads to similar success against San Diego. Now with a 1-0 lead in the series, the Phillies will look to bury the Padres further this afternoon with Aaron Nola facing off against Blake Snell.