Saturday, June 22, 2024
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MLB NLDS | Game 2 Preview: Philadelphia Phillies (1-0) at Atlanta Braves (0-1)

PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES NOTES:
GAME 1 RECAP: The Phillies shut out the Braves, 3-0, in Game 1 of the NLDS at Truist Park … The Phillies used 7 pitchers (Suarez, Hoffman, Dominguez, Alvarado, Kerkering, Strahm, Kimbrel) who held the Braves to just 5 hits, all singles … Offensively, the Phils scored in 3 frames – in the 4th on a Bryson Stott single, in the 6th on a Bryce Harper solo home run and in the 8th on a catcher’s interference call with J.T. Realmuto at the plate … In the bottom of the 8th, Trea Turner made a diving snag to start a double play and end the inning.

WHEELS UP: Since 2022 (regular and postseason combined) Zack Wheeler has made 5 starts at Truist Park – He is 4-1 with a 1.87 ERA (7 ER, 33.2 IP) with 39 strikeouts to 4 walks (9.75 SO/BB ratio) and has held the 127 Braves batters he has faced to a .190/.228/.289 slash line (.518 OPS) … At Truist Park this year, Wheeler went 2-0 in 2 starts with a 0.64 ERA (1 ER, 14.0 IP) and 17 strikeouts to 3 walks … Since he joined the Phillies, Wheeler has faced the Braves 14 times (regular and postseason combined) – he is 6-3 with a 2.46 ERA (25 ER, 91.1 IP) with 103 strikeouts to 16 walks and a 0.95 WHIP (70 H) … Among all MLB pitchers with at least 75.0 innings pitched against a single opponent since 2020, Wheeler’s 0.94 WHIP against Atlanta ranks 2nd behind only Gerrit Cole’s 0.86 WHIP against Toronto.

OCTOBER’S VERY OWN: In his first 7 career postseason starts, Zack Wheeler has limited the 159 batters he has faced to a .162/.220/.230 slash line (.450 OPS) and has posted a 0.73 WHIP (7 BB, 24 H, 42.1 IP) … Among all pitchers in MLB history through their first 7 career postseason starts, Wheeler’s (0.73228) WHIP ranks 2nd all time, behind only Masahiro Tanaka (0.73171) … Among all pitchers with at least 40.0 innings pitched in the postseason in MLB history, Wheeler’s 0.73 WHIP ranks 1st (NYY’s Mariano Rivera 2nd at 0.76) and his .450 OPS against ranks 2nd all-time, trailing only Rivera (.440 OPS).

LEGEND OF THE FALL: Two-time MVP (2015 & 2021) and 2022 NLCS MVP Bryce Harper has played in 20 postseason games for the Phillies – he is slashing .352/.439/.746 with a 1.186 OPS, 16 runs, 7 doubles, 7 home runs, 14 RBI and 10 walks … Per Elias, Harper’s 1.186 OPS in his first 20 postseason games with the Phillies ranks 8th in MLB history for a player’s first 20 postseason games with a club – he trails only NYY’s Lou Gehrig (1.395 OPS) from 1926-36, TB’s Randy Arozarena (1.273 OPS) in 2020, HOU’s Carlos Beltran (1.266 OPS) from 2004-17, NYY’s Reggie Jackson (1.252 OPS) from 1977-78, KC’s George Brett (1.235 OPS) from 1976-80, NYY’s Bernie Williams (1.208 OPS) from 1995-96 and STL’s David Freese (1.202 OPS) from 2011-12 … Harper’s 14 extra-base hits rank T-5th all-time through the first 20 postseason games with a team (with: Arozarena & Freese) – he trails only Brett (16 XBH), LAA’s Troy Glaus (15 XBH), STL’s Jim Edmonds (15 XBH), and Gehrig (15 XBH).

STAFF NOTES : Through the first 3 games of the 2023 postseason, Phillies pitching has allowed only 2 runs (both ER) in 27.0 innings, good for a 0.67 ERA – they have held the 98 batters they have faced to a .440 OPS and 0 home runs … Per Elias, the Phillies are only the 8th team in MLB history to allow 2 runs or fewer through the first 3 games of any single postseason: ATL in 2021 (3 R), MIL in 2018 (2 R), NYY in 1999 (1 R), NYY in 1998 (1 R), OAK in 1981 (2 R), BAL in 1966 (2 R) and CLE in 1948 (2 R).

I’M GIVING IT MY ALL: Since 2008, the Phillies are 41-22 in 63 postseason games … There are nine clubs in MLB who have played at least 50 postseason games since 2008 – among those nine, Philadelphia’s .651 winning percentage in the postseason ranks 2nd, behind only the Giants (38-20, .655) … HOU ranks 3rd (.606), BOS ranks 4th (.565), LAD ranks 5th (.521), NYY ranks 6th (.506), ATL ranks 7th (.490), STL ranks 8th (.456) and TB ranks 9th (.438).

GEORGIA ON MY MIND: This series marks Philadelphia’s third postseason matchup against Atlanta … Last season, the Phillies won the NLDS 3-1 over Atlanta and in 1993, the Phillies took the NLCS 4-2 … All time, the Phillies are 8-3 against the Braves in the postseason and they have won 7 of the last 8 games (since Game 4 of the 1993 NLCS) … Last month (9/18-20), the Phillies took two of three games from Atlanta at Truist Park which marked their first series win in Atlanta since Sept. 17-19, 2019 … The Phillies went 4-3 in Atlanta this season which marked their second winning season at Truist Park and first since 2017 (5-4) … In 13 games against ATL this season, Bryce Harper posted a .974 OPS with 5 home runs and had more walks (12) than strikeouts (11) … In 7 games at Truist Park, Nick Castellanos slashed .357/.400/.821 with 3 home runs and a 1.221 OPS in 30 plate appearances.

ACES UP MY SLEEVE: In the Wild Card Series against Miami, Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola combined to go 2-0 with a 0.66 ERA (1 ER, 13.2 IP) with 11 strikeouts to 1 walk while holding Miami to a .435 OPS … Last year in the Wild Card round, the pair combined to go 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA (13.0 IP) with 10 strikeouts to 2 walks while holding St. Louis to a .351 OPS … Combined, in the last two Wild Card rounds, Wheeler and Nola have allowed only 1 ER in 26.2 IP (0.34 ERA) with 21 strikeouts to 3 walks and a .393 opponents OPS.

BEDLAM AT THE BANK: The Phillies are 24-11 all time in the postseason at Citizens Bank Park and their .686 winning percentage is the best in MLB history for any club to play 30+ postseason games at their home venue (Elias) … NYM (.667) at Shea Stadium (1969-2006) ranks 2nd, STL (.660 win %) at Busch Stadium (1967-2005) ranks 3rd, BAL (.633 win %) at Memorial Stadium (1966-83) ranks 4th, HOU (.632 win %) at Minute Maid Park (2001-22) ranks 5th and NYY (.627 win %) at Yankee Stadium I (1923- 2007) ranks 6th … The Phillies lost their first two postseason games at CBP, Game 1 & 2 of the 2007 NLDS vs COL – Since then, the Phillies have won 24 of their last 33 postseason games at CBP (.727 win %) with a +79 run differential (182-103).

YOU HAVE TO SEE IT TO BELIEVE IT: “I yelled at the dugout and couldn’t really hear myself. Any time we get to play here, you know it’s going to be loud from the very first pitch. I wouldn’t want to play anywhere else. It’s a phenomenal time every time we take the field here in the postseason.” – Bryson Stott … “I knew it was going to be crazy, but I didn’t expect that. That was awesome, I got chills.” – Zack Wheeler … “Man, I missed it. It felt like a continuation of last year. It was amazing.” – Nick Castellanos … “It was electric.” – Trea Turner … “I was just taking in the crowd. It’s an unbelievable place and it takes it up a notch in October. I was just trying to take in as much of that as I can.” – Rhys Hoskins … “There is no bigger home field advantage in Major League Baseball than what they enjoy here in Philadelphia.” – ESPN’s Karl Ravech … “It’s hard to quantify what a crowd can mean in terms of the outcome of a game. What I do know is that was as wild of an atmosphere I have experienced in a very long time.” – Miami Herald’s Craig Mish … “On a night their raucous ballpark at the base of South Broad Street officially became the toughest playoff venue for opponents in baseball history, the Philadelphia Phillies got lost in the hysteria of Citizens Bank Park.” – USA Today’s Gabe Lacques … “I would love to play in a game like this. The crowd is on fire #RedOctober.” –
Eagles WR AJ Brown … “It’s too soon to talk about the unique decibel levels of Citizens Bank Park, the rabid fervor of unwelcoming fans that opposing players remember almost a year later. Call it boldness, or brashness or obnoxious; baseball here is a spectacle.” – Yahoo Sports’ Hannah Keyser

WELCOME TO RED OCTOBER: The Phillies woke up on June 3 (the one-year anniversary of Rob Thomson’s first game as manager) seven games under .500 at 25-32 and from that point on, went 65-40 with a .619 winning percentage that ranked T-3rd among all clubs in MLB (with BAL), behind only ATL (.676) and LAD (.625) … On Sept. 26, the Phillies clinched the top wildcard spot and their second consecutive postseason appearance with a walk-off win over the Pirates … The Phillies slugged 220 home runs this season which ranked 2nd in club history (224 in 2009) but they set a franchise record with 121 home runs after the All-Star break … The Phillies had six different players with 20+ home runs which set a franchise record … Zack Wheeler led all pitchers in MLB in fWAR (5.9) as Philadelphia’s pitching combined for 24.4 fWAR which led MLB and was 6.3 wins in front of SD who ranked 2nd in the NL at 18.1 fWAR.

CITIZENS BANK SPARK: The Phillies went 49-32 at CBP this season with a +83 run differential (418-335) that was their best mark at home since they were +114 at home in 2011 (367-253) … Of their 26 home series this season, the Phillies won 17 of them … Philadelphia’s 49 wins and .605 winning percentage were both tied for 3rd-best in CBP history (since 2004), behind only the 2010 club (54-30, .643) and the 2011 team (52-39,
.642) … The Phillies reached 3,000,000 in attendance for the 9th time in the history of CBP and for the first time since 2013 … Philadelphia saw their attendance increase by over 9,500 per game from a season ago which was the most of any club in MLB.

IN COMPANY WITH COOPERSTOWN: On Sept. 12, Bryce Harper became only the 18th player in Major League Baseball history to reach 1,500 career hits and 300 home runs before turning 31 years old … He is joined by Hall-of-Famers Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Mell Ott, Duke Snider, Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Eddie Mathews, Hank Aaron, Frank Robinson, Johnny Bench, Ken Griffey Jr. and Vladimir Gurrero … Of the 18 players in MLB history with 1,500 hits and 300 home runs before turning 31, the only ones currently not in the Hall of Fame are Harper, Miguel Cabrera, Albert Pujols, Andruw Jones, Alex Rodriguez and Juan Gonzalez … Of those 18 players with 1,500 hits and 300 home runs before turning 31, only four had 900+ walks at the time: Mantle (973), Harper (947), Mathews (910) and Gehrig (909).

GET ME TO THE PLATE BOYS: In “Close & Late” situations (7th inning or later with the batting team ahead by one run, tied, or with the tying run on base, at bat or on deck), Bryce Harper had 91 plate appearances this season and slashed .387/.495/.667 with a 1.161 OPS that was the best in MLB – he reached base safely in 45 of those 91 plate appearances … Per FanGraphs, Harper ranked 2nd in MLB this year in Win Probability Added at 5.77 – he trailed only Ronald Acuna Jr. (6.87) – Mookie Betts ranked 3rd behind Harper at 5.21.

LEADING MAN: Leadoff hitter Kyle Schwarber had a career-high 126 walks this season which is T-4th in Phillies franchise history for a single year with HOF Billy Hamilton who had 126 in 1894 … Bobby Abreu ranks 3rd with 127 in 2004 and HOF Mike Schmidt ranks 2nd with 128 in 1983 … The franchise record for walks in a season is 129, set by Lenny Dykstra in 1993 … Schwarber ranked 2nd in MLB this year in both walks and walk rate (17.5%), trailing only Juan Soto in both (132, 18.6%) … After he was moved back to the leadoff spot on 6/2, the Phillies went 65-41 (.613 win %) – In that span, they went 46-16 when Schwarber scored a run (.742) and 24-7 in the 31 games he homered (.774) … Schwarber hit a franchise record 11 leadoff home runs this season which eclipsed Jimmy Rollins’ previous record of 9 in 2007.

120 WALKS, 100 RUNS, 100 RBI, 45 HOMERS: Kyle Schwarber (126 BB, 108 R, 104 RBI, 47 HR) is one of only 13 MLB players since 1920 (when RBI became official) with a 120 walk/100 R/100 RBI/45 HR season … Babe Ruth did so eight times, Barry Bonds four times, Mark McGwire two times, and Lou Gehrig, Chipper Jones, Aaron Judge, Harmon Killebrew, Ralph Kiner, Mickey Mantle, Willie McCovey, Mike Schmidt & Jim Thome all did so once.

SCHWARBER, McGWIRE, RUTH: In his first two seasons in Philadelphia (since 2022), Kyle Schwarber hit 93 home runs which ranks 2nd in MLB behind only Aaron Judge (99 HR) and he walked 212 times which also ranks 2nd in MLB behind only Juan Soto (267 BB) … Schwarber is only the 3rd player in MLB history with 90+ home runs and 200+ walks through any player’s first two seasons with a club: Mark McGwire with St. Louis from 1997-98 (94 HR, 205 BB) and Babe Ruth with the Yankees from 1920-21 (113 HR, 294 BB).

AMONG THE GREATS: Right-hander Craig Kimbrel finished the year with 1,191 career strikeouts which ranks 5th among all relief pitchers since at least 1893 (Elias) … Of the four relief pitchers currently in front of Kimbrel on the strikeout list, three are Hall of Famers (Hoyt Wilhelm – 1,363 SO, Goose Gossage – 1,340 SO, Lee Smith – 1,225 SO) and the other is Billy Wagner (1,196 SO), Kimbrel’s former teammate, who received
51.0% of the vote this past year, his 7th on the ballot … Kimbrel was selected as an All-Star for the 9th time in 2023 and picked up his first career save in an ASG … Kimbrel is only the 13th pitcher in history with 9+ career selections to the ASG – of those 13 players, 9 are in Cooperstown: Warren Spahn (14 ASG), Mariano Rivera (13 ASG), Tom Seaver (12 ASG), Tom Glavine (10 ASG), Randy Johnson (10 ASG), Steve Carlton (10 ASG), Goose Gossage (9 ASG), Juan Marichal (9 ASG) and Carl Hubbell (9 ASG) – the only four pitchers with nine+ ASG selections who are not in the HOF are Roger Clemens (11 ASG), Clayton Kershaw (10 ASG), Justin Verlander (9 ASG) and Kimbrel … He currently ranks 8th in MLB history with 417 saves.

RISP AND REWARD: From July 1 through the end of the season, the Phillies slashed .278/.354/.485 with RISP and posted an .839 OPS with RISP which ranked 4th in MLB … From July 1 through the end of the season, the Phils had six qualified players with an OPS over .800 with RISP: Kyle
Schwarber (1.046), Bryce Harper (1.024), Brandon Marsh (1.016), Alec Bohm (.937), Nick Castellanos (.840) and Bryson Stott (.802).

TURNED HIM LOOSE: Shortstop Trea Turner had a career-high 66 extra-base hits in his first season in Philadelphia … He also hit 26 home runs, scored 102 runs and was a perfect 30-for-30 in stolen base attempts … Dating back to last season, Turner is 35-for-35 in stolen base attempts – his 100.0% success rate this season is the highest since 1951 among all MLB players who attempted at least 30 stolen bases in one season (previous: Brady Anderson in 1994 & Carlos Beltran in 2001, both 31-for-32/96.9%) … From Aug. 4 through the end of the season, (48 G), Turner slashed .337/.389/.668 with a 1.057 OPS (211 PA) that ranked 4th out of 143 qualified players in MLB.

ARMS RACE: The Phillies starting rotation led the National League with 899.0 innings pitched this year which ranked 3rd in MLB, behind only SEA (901.1) and HOU (900.0) … Philadelphia’s rotation put up 17.7 fWAR as a staff which ranked 1st among all MLB rotations (next: MIN, 16.5) and was 3.2 wins in front of the next closest NL club (SD, 14.5) … Consequently, Philadelphia’s bullpen threw the fewest innings of any relief corps in MLB this year with 543.1, yet Philadelphia’s relief pitchers combined for 6.7 fWAR which was 3rd in MLB behind LAD (7.6) and BAL (7.5) … Combined (SP & RP), Phillies pitching put up 24.4 fWAR this year which was the best in MLB (next: TB, 20.6) and was 6.3 wins in front of SD who ranked 2nd in the NL with 18.1 fWAR.

YOU’RE SO GOLDEN: Second baseman Bryson Stott ranked T-4th among all players in Major League Baseball with 17 Outs Above Average (with PIT’s Ke’Bryan Hayes) – the only players in MLB with more OAA than Stott were CHI’s SS Dansby Swanson (20 OAA), SF’s INF Thairo Estrada (19 OAA) and CLE’s 2B Andres Gimenez (18 OAA) – CHI 2B Nico Hoerner trailed Stott with 15 OAA and Stott (7 DRS) ranked ahead of Estrada (2 DRS) in Defensive Runs Saved … Stott led all National League second baseman in games played (148) and total chances (602) and he ranked 2nd in innings at the position (1294.1), trailing only ATL’s Ozzie Albies (1314.0) … Stott made only 5 errors and posted a .992 fielding percentage … He set a franchise record earlier this season when he began his career with 84 consecutive games at second base without an error, eclipsing the previous mark held by Tomas Perez (57 G) from 2001-02.

SAINT NICK: Nick Castellanos played 148 games in right field this season (1292.1 total innings) and he had 10 outfield assists with 0 errors in 264 total chances … He is the first Phillies outfielder with 250+ total chances and 0 errors in the outfield since Shane Victorino in 2011 (296 TC, 0 errors) … Castellanos is only the third outfielder in Phillies history to complete a season with 10+ outfield assists and 0 errors, joining Victorino in 2006 (11 assists, 0 errors) and Johnny Callison in 1968 (10 assists, 0 errors) … Since 1901, Castellanos is only the 3rd MLB right fielder to play in 100 games with 10+ assists and 0 errors: BAL’s Nick Markakis (2x, 2011 & 2014) and Callison in 1968.

HATS OFF TO YOU, THOMS: Phils’ skipper Rob Thomson, the 56th manager in Phillies history, is the only one of those 56 to reach the postseason in their first two seasons as manager of the Phillies … Per Baseball Reference, there have been 838 managers in MLB history – of those 838, Thomson is one of only 13 to reach the postseason in their first two seasons as a manager (per Elias) … In chronological order, he is joined by John Schneider (2022-23), Rocco Baldelli (2019-20), Aaron Boone (2018-19), Jeff Banister (2015-16), Mike Matheny (2012-13), Ron Gardenhire (2002-03), Bob Brenly (2001-02), Larry Dierker (1997-98), Ralph Houk (1961-62), Mickey Cochrane (1934-35), Bucky Harris (1924-25) and Hughie Jennings (1907- 08) … Since Thomson took over on June 3, 2022, the Phillies are 155-118 with a .568 winning percentage that ranks T-6th in MLB.

NLDS GAME 2 STARTER – ZACK WHEELER • RHP #45
2023: 13-6, 3.61 ERA Career: 87-63, 3.45 ERA

LAST START: 10/3 vs MIA: W, 6.2 IP, 5 H, ER, 0 BB, 8 SO … Wheeler vs Luzardo … The Phillies defeated the Miami Marlins, 4-1, in Game 1 of the 2023 NLWCS at a sold-out Citizens Bank Park (45,662 in attendance) … The Phillies struck first in the 3rd inning on an Alec Bohm RBI double that scored Johan Rojas … In the 4th, the Phillies had 4 hits and plated 2 runs on RBI from Bryson Stott and Cristian Pache … Miami scored in the 7th to make 3-1 but Jose Alvarado (2) and Jeff Hoffman (1) each stranded their inherited runners on base … In the 8th, the Phillies added an insurance run as Bryce Harper scored from 1st base on a Nick Castellanos double … Craig Kimbrel picked up his 8th career postseason save with a scoreless 9th

TONIGHT’S START:

  • Brave the Elements: Since 2022 (regular and postseason combined) Zack Wheeler has made 5 starts at Truist Park … He is 4-1 with a 1.87 ERA (7 ER, 33.2 IP) with 39 strikeouts to 4 walks (9.75 SO/BB ratio) and has held the 127 Braves batters he has faced to a .190/.228/.289 slash line (.518 OPS) … In his lone postseason start against ATL last year, Wheeler went 6.0 IP while allowing 4 H, 3 ER, BB and 5 SO … At Truist Park this year, Wheeler went 2-0 in 2 starts with a 0.64 ERA (1 ER, 14.0 IP) and 17 strikeouts to 3 walks … Since he joined the Phillies, Wheeler has faced the Braves 14 times (regular and postseason combined) – he is 6-3 with a 2.46 ERA (25 ER, 91.1 IP) with 103 strikeouts to 16 walks and a 0.95 WHIP (70 H) … Among all MLB pitchers with at least 75.0 innings pitched against a single opponent since 2020, Wheeler’s 0.94 WHIP against Atlanta ranks 2nd behind only Gerrit Cole’s 0.86 WHIP against Toronto
  • Postseason Hero: With his last start, Wheeler became the 3rd Phillies pitcher to make at least 7 postseason starts … 5 of his 7 postseason starts have been quality … Wheeler’s 2.55 ERA (12 ER, 42.1 IP) in the postseason is the 2nd best in franchise history (min. 40.0 IP), trailing only Cliff Lee (2.33) … In his 5 postseason starts that have come on the road, he has a 2.73 ERA (9 ER, 29.2 IP) … His road, postseason ERA is the 5th best among active ML pitchers (min. 25.0 IP) … In his first 7 career postseason starts, Zack Wheeler has limited the 159 batters he has faced to a .162/.220/.230 slash line (.450 OPS) and has posted a 0.73 WHIP (7 BB, 24 H, 42.1 IP) … Among all pitchers in MLB history through their first 7 career postseason starts, Wheeler’s (0.73228) WHIP ranks 2nd all time, behind only Masahiro Tanaka (0.73171) … Among all pitchers with at least 40.0 innings pitched in the postseason in MLB history, Wheeler’s 0.73 WHIP ranks 1st (NYY’s Mariano Rivera 2nd at 0.76) and his .450 OPS against ranks 2nd all-time, trailing only Rivera (.440 OPS)
  • Pitch Usage: 4-seam fastball (43.3%), Sinker (18.2%), Slider (14.4%), Sweeper (12.2%), Curveball (11.4%), Changeup (0.4%)
  • vs NL East: 44-33, 3.53 ERA (265 ER, 676.1 IP) in 110 starts

ROAD:

  • 2023: 8-4, 3.16 ERA (36 ER, 102.2 IP) in 17 starts
  • Career: 46-30, 3.43 ERA (260 ER, 681.2 IP) in 114 starts

WHEELER – POSTSEASON
W-L ERA G GS IP H R ER BB SO
2023: 1-0 1.35 1 1 6.2 5 1 1 0 8
Career: 2-3 42.1 7 7 42.1 24 13 12 7 41

2023 SEASON:

  • 100 With the Phils: Made his 100th start for the Phillies on Sept. 23 vs NYM … In his first 100 starts with the club, he was 43-25 with a 3.07 ERA (213 ER, 625.1 IP) with 670 strikeouts to 134 walks and a 1.05 WHIP … Since earned runs have been an official stat (1912), Wheeler has the 5th-best ERA among any Phillies pitcher in their first 100 starts with the club … He trails only Jim Bunning (2.62), Cliff Lee (2.81), Steve Carlton (2.91) and Larry Jackson (3.02) … His 670 strikeouts are also the 2nd most by a Phillies pitcher in their first 100 starts, trailing only Cliff Lee (712) and his 43 wins are tied with Aaron Nola, Cole Hamels and Robin Roberts for the 12th most
  • 200: Wheeler had 212 strikeouts on the season … It is the 2nd season of his career with 200 strikeouts (other: 2021) … Aaron Nola reached 200 strikeouts on 9/26 and it is the 2nd season in which they’ve both had 200 strikeouts … They join Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee, who both did so in 2012 and 2013, as the only Phillies pitching tandem to have two seasons in which they each struck out 200 or more batters … They were one of 3 pitching duos in baseball this year to each have 200 or more strikeouts
  • Stop the WAR: Wheeler led all NL pitchers in fWAR with 5.9 and was T-10th among all major leaguers … Since he signed with the Phillies as a free agent (since 2020), Wheeler ranks 1st among all pitchers in MLB in fWAR at 19.3
  • In the Zone: On the year, Wheeler’s 5.0% walk rate ranked T-5th among NL pitchers with at least 100.0 IP … It was the lowest walk rate of is career (previous best: 5.4%, 2021) … Wheeler had 20 starts this year in which he threw at least 5.0 IP while walking 1 or no batters, which ranked T-5th in MLB (most: Logan Webb, 23) … It was a new career-high for most such starts in a single season (previous best: 18, 2021) … In 7 starts from 7/1-8/8 (43.2 IP), Wheeler walked only 3 batters … It is the first time in his career that he walked 3 or fewer batters in a 7-game span
  • Zack With a K: Wheeler’s SO/BB rate of 5.44 is the 4th best in MLB and 2nd in the NL … It was the best SO/BB rate of any season in his career (2nd best: 2021, 5.37) … Wheeler had the 4th most SO in the NL with 212 … In his 2 starts from 8/26-9/1, Wheeler became the 3rd Phillies pitcher in the Modern Era (since 1901) with back-to-back starts with 10+ strikeouts and no walks (others: Cole Hamels, 8/1-7/10; Curt Schilling, 9/15-21/96) … Wheeler was the second ML pitcher to do so this season (other: Zac Gallen, 4/21-26)
  • On 8/26, Wheeler earned his 10th win of the season … He has earned 10+ wins in 6 seasons and has done so in every season with at least 20 starts … Wheeler has earned double-digit wins in 3 straight seasons for the first time in his career
  • Took a no-hitter into the 8th inning on 6/8 vs DET which was the longest no-hit bid of his career (previous: 6.1 innings on 7/30/13 vs MIA)
  • Reached 10 years of ML service on Sunday (6/11) vs LAD
  • Recorded his 18th career double-digit strikeout game and 10th as a Phillie on 5/27 at ATL
  • Made his 200th career start on 4/23 vs COL

ATLANTA BRAVES NOTES:

Shut Out
Atlanta failed to score on Saturday night, its first time getting shut out here at Truist Park since August 28, 2021. Including postseason games, the Braves’ streak of 187 consecutive games without being shut out at home was the longest active streak in baseball and the longest since Colorado went 361 straight games without a shutout at Coors Field from July 5, 1999-September 17, 2003. Atlanta was shut out just twice all season, fewest in the majors. The Braves had not been shut out in the postseason since back-to-back blankings in Games 1 & 2 of the 2018 NLDS vs. Los Angeles.

TONIGHT’S GAME: The Braves and Phillies
tonight continue their best-of-five National League Division Series with Game 2 here in Atlanta…The Braves took eight of the 13 meetings between the clubs in the regular season.

  • Philadelphia blanked Atlanta, 3-0, on Saturday night to win Game 1.
  • Atlanta has won the season series with Philadelphia in each of the last three years, going a combined 29-22 (.569) against the Phillies since 2021…The Braves went 10-9 against the Phillies in 2021 and 11-8 in 2022 before an 8-5 record this year…The Braves’ three-season run of winning the season set is their longest since doing so in five straight years, 2012-2016.
  • This marks the third time in history the Braves and Phillies have met in the postseason and the second consecutive year in which they have done so… Atlanta is just 3-8 (.273) versus Philadelphia all-time in the playoffs…The Phillies beat Atlanta in six games to win the 1993 pennant, and topped the Braves in the 2022 NLDS, three-games-to-one, to eliminate the defending World Series champions.
  • Atlanta went just 3-4 with Philadelphia here at Truist Park this season, but the Braves are 35-21 (.625) against the Phillies here since the facility opened in 2017…The Braves and Phillies split Games 1 & 2 of the 2022 NLDS here last season.
  • LH Max Fried has made 19 appearances and 13 starts against the Phillies in his career, going an even 4-4 with a 3.62 ERA (32 ER/79.2 IP)…In his only such start this season, the 6-foot-4, 190-pound left-hander allowed four hits and one run over 5.0 innings in a no-decision…Fried started Game 1 of the NLDS last season against the Phillies and allowed eight hits and six runs, four earned, over 3.1 innings to take the loss.
  • RH Zack Wheeler has made 27 starts against Atlanta in his career, compiling a 12-7 record with a 3.18 ERA (60 ER/179.0 IP)…In three turns
    against the Braves this season, he went 2-0 with a 3.32 ERA (7 ER/19.0 IP), including both wins and a 0.64 ERA (1 ER/14.0 IP) here in Atlanta… The 6-foot-4, 195-pound native of Smyrna, GA, attended East Paulding High School, located just 19 miles from Truist Park.

LOSS: Atlanta collected just five hits and failed to score on Saturday night, losing Game 1, 3-0…The Braves are just 6-13 (.316) all-time in Game 1 of the NLDS.

  • Since 1995, the loser of Game 1 of the best-of-five NLDS has come back to win the series 32 times in 112 total series…Regardless of the round, the Game 1 loser in a best-of-five series in MLB history has 43 series wins in 148 total sets… Research courtesy Elias.
  • Atlanta last recovered from a 0-1 series deficit in the NLDS in 2021, winning the next three games to beat the Brewers and advance…The Braves went on to win the World Series that year.

GAME 2: In 18 games all-time in Game 2 of the NLDS, Atlanta is 16-2 (.889), including wins in four straight such games.

  • Atlanta has not allowed a run in Game 2 of the NLDS since 2018, pitching four straight shutouts in this game of the opening round…The Braves blanked the Phillies, 3-0, in Game 2 last year, beat the Brewers, 3-0, in 2021, defeated the Marlins, 2-0, in 2020, and shut out the Cardinals, 3-0, in 2019.
  • The Braves’ .889 winning percentage in Game 2s of the NLDS is the best in major league history among teams to play multiple such games…The
    Pirates won the only such game in their history in 2013…Philadelphia is 2-5 (.286) in such games, including losses in two straight.

THE POSTSEASON: This series marks the Braves’ 44th postseason matchup in franchise history…Atlanta last played in the postseason last year, losing to Philadelphia in the NLDS…The Braves are 101-105 (.490) all-time in the postseason, despite outscoring the opposition 817-795 (+22).

  • The Braves have played in 18 division series (8-10), 13 league championship series (6-7), 10 World Series (4-6), one wild card series (1-0), and one wild card game (0-1).
  • Since the 2018 season, Atlanta’s 23 postseason wins are third most in baseball behind just the Astros (43) and Dodgers (30)…Among teams to play at least 10 playoff games in that span, the Braves’ .548 postseason winning percentage (23-19) is fifth best in the majors and third best in the N.L.

NO EXTRA BASES OR HOMERS: All five of Atlanta’s base hits Saturday were singles, and the Braves had just seven such games all season in which they did not collect an extra-base hit…Atlanta was 2-5 this year when it did not have a hit go for extra bases in a game.

  • The Braves failed to homer in a game just 18 times this season, by far the fewest such games in the majors and exactly half the total of the closest team…The Dodgers went without a homer 36 times to rank second.
  • However, Atlanta went just 5-13 (.278) when it did not hit a homer this season, the eighth-worst mark in baseball.
  • Atlanta scored 52% of its runs this season via home run, the largest percentage in baseball…The Braves were the only team to score over half of their runs this season via homer.

104 WINS: The Braves won 104 games this season, tied for the second-highest single-season win total in franchise history…The 104 wins were the club’s most since the 1998 club won a franchise-record 106 games… The 1993 Braves also won 104 games to match this year’s mark.

  • The Braves went 101-61 last season, and have won 100 games in back-to-back years for the first time since 2002 (101) and 2003 (101).

Tonight’s Starting Pitcher – #54 Max Fried LHP
2023 Record: 8-1, 2.55 ERA • 2022 Record: 14-7, 2.48 ERA
vs. RHB: .2449 (61-245), 6 HR • vs. LHB: .205 (9-44), 1 HR
Home: 2-1, 3.86 ERA (13/30.1) • Away: 6-0, 1.71 ERA (9/47.1)

Today’s Game

  • Set to make his 11th career postseason start and second against Philadelphia.
  • Suffered the loss in Game 1 of last year’s NLDS against the Phillies, allowing eight hits, six runs, four earned and a walk through 3.1 innings pitched.
  • Atlanta starters are a combined 1-4 with a 5.66 ERA against Philadelphia in the NLDS over the past two years.
  • Fried is 2-4 with a 4.43 ERA in 18 postseason appearances (10 starts) in his career.
  • Owns a 4.12 ERA in 10 postseason starts.
  • Fried is 22-16 with a 3.70 ERA in 70 regular season appearances against NL East opponents.
  • Went 2-0 with a 1.40 ERA in four starts against Divisional opponents this season.
  • Went 6-0 with a 2.79 ERA in nine starts since being reinstated from the IL on 8/4.
  • His 2.55 ERA was the fourth lowest in the majors among pitchers with at least 10 starts.
  • His 3.00 FIP was the third lowest in the National League (min. 10 starts)…Trailed teammate Spencer Strider and Chicago’s Justin Steele
  • Was activated from the 15-day injured list on October 7 after being placed on the IL on September 22 with left index finger blister.
  • Was reinstated from the 60-day injured list on August 4 and made a start against Chicago (NL) after missing 70 games, 90 days between appearances.
  • Landed on the 60-day IL on May 9 (retro May 6) with a strained left forearm.
  • Fried went 0-2 with a 3.75 ERA with 13 strikeouts in four rehabilitation appearances.
  • Made three starts with Triple-A Gwinnett and one with High-A Rome.
  • Fried picked off New York’s Harrison Bader on August 14, his second successful pick-off of the season.
  • Fried’s 25 successful pickoffs since debuting in 2017 are the most in baseball and five more than the next closest pitcher, Washington’s Patrick Corbin.
  • Corbin has attempted 434 pickoffs in that time, compared to Fried’s 172.
  • Fried has successfully nabbed a runner on 14.5 percent of his career pickoff attempts, drastically higher than the MLB average since his debut (1.7 percent)…Since 2017, 1.6 percent of MLB’s successful pick attempts have been executed by Fried.
  • His 60 wins since the beginning of the 2019 season are the most in the National League and the most by any left-hander in baseball.
  • Only one pitcher, the Yankees’ Gerrit Cole, has more wins than Fried since the start of 2019…Cole has 71 wins.
  • Additionally, the Braves have 81 wins in games started by Fried since the beginning of 2019, the most such wins by a pitcher in the National League… Only Cole and José Berríos have more, whose teams have won 94 and 82 of their starts, have more in the majors.
  • Teammate Charlie Morton’s teams also have 79 wins during that span.

2023 Recap

  • Became just the fifth pitcher since 1901 to only allow one run through March and April with at least four games started.
  • Joined Hall-of-Famer Walter Johnson, Roger Clemens, Fernando Valenzuela and Minnesota’s Pablo López as the only other pitchers to do so (since 1901).
  • Fried was placed on the 15-day injured list with a strained left hamstring on March 30 and activated from the IL on April 17.
  • Made his third career Opening Day start after he also started the opener in each of the last two seasons.
  • Fried was the first Braves lefty to make consecutive Opening Day starts since Hall-of-Famer Warren Spahn started six straight, 1957-1962.
  • Prior to Fried, the last Braves lefty to start Opening Day was Tom Glavine in 2002.
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