Zack Wheeler delivers another superb outing, putting the Phillies on the doorstep of the World Series.
The Philadelphia Phillies came into this game having lost two in a row, in danger of letting this series slip away. However, behind their ace, Philly would not be denied, as Zack Wheeler continued his remarkable run across the past two seasons, pitching another gem for his third win of this postseason.
NLCS Game 5
Philadelphia Phillies 6, Arizona Diamondbacks 1
(Philadelphia leads series 3-2)
What both of these teams may lack in rotation depth, they make up for with front-end talent. And for the second time in this series, that talent was on display, as aces Zack Wheeler and Zac Gallen repeated their matchup from Game 1.
It didn’t take long for the action to start. As it’s been the case in every outing the D-Backs’ ace had in this postseason, Gallen was at his most vulnerable in the opening frame, and as they did in Game 1, Philly took full advantage of it.
Kyle Schwarber opened up the game with an infield single on a very soft contact (30.8 MPH) to first, and three batters later, Philly had a couple of men on, and two outs.
Bryson Stott, who had gotten a hit in only one of his last six postseason games, came up big with an RBI knock to right field, but the real action was on what would follow. With Stott at first and Bryce Harper at third, Philly called for the double steal, and it worked. As Stott broke for second, the throw was made, but he stopped for a rundown as Harper broke for home.
The throw made it there in time, but Moreno could not apply the tag as a collision happened at the home plate, with the throw taking him toward Harper.
Luckily for Arizona, Moreno was able to stay in the game despite the heavy blow, but Philly upped their lead to 2-0.
In the bottom of the first, we’d get a preview of what much of Wheeler’s outing would look like. Arizona threatened, but was unable to do real damage against the Phillies’ ace. Two of the D-Backs’ first three hitters reached safely, but Wheeler managed a crucial punchout against Christian Walker, and then got Pavin Smith on a groundout to keep Arizona at zero.
Those two runs in the first would be all the scoring in this one through six, as both Gallen and Wheeler held serve. Dealing with a bullpen that had been taxed a lot in the past two nights, and with Gallen’s pitch count well in check, Torey Lovullo sent his ace back out there for the seventh. Gallen at last faltered again.
Facing the top of the Phillies’ order, Gallen gave up two mammoth solo homers, which combined went for over 900 ft. making this a 4-0 game.
First, it was Kyle Schwarber who went yard to open the frame, taking this one 461 ft:
Then it was Harper’s turn to hit one out:
The big guns showing up, as they did here, sort of embodies what this game was all about.
Both Gallen and Wheeler navigated these dangerous lineups well, for most of the evening. Neither was at their best, with Wheeler allowing 12 hard-hit balls, and Gallen 11. Wheeler was able to keep his hard contact in the yard, though. The foundational pieces of the Phillies lineup punished Gallen in a way that the D-Backs’ ones just didn’t.
The only run Philadelphia would concede would be on an Alek Thomas’ solo blast in the seventh.
The momentum that came with it was quickly squashed by a J.T. Realmuto two-run homer in the eighth.
Now both sides head back to Philadelphia, for a Game 6 that will take place on Monday night, with the time pending the result of tonight’s matchup between the Rangers and Astros. With Houston having stormed back against the Rangers, we’re on the edge of a World Series rematch.