Phillies vs. Marlins score, highlights: Philly takes Game 1 as Bryce Harper refuses to stop, Wheeler dominates
The Phillies are one win away from moving on to the NLDS
The Philadelphia Phillies are one win away from advancing in the 2023 MLB playoffs. The reigning NL champs took Game 1 of their Wild Card Series matchup against the Miami Marlins, 4-1, Tuesday night in front of a raucous Citizens Bank Park crowd. Zack Wheeler threw 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball, and the Phillies got RBI hits from Alec Bohm, Bryson Stott, Christian Pache and Nick Castellanos.
Wheeler struck out eight and did not walk a batter. The Marlins got their lone run off the right-hander in the seventh inning before he exited after 100 pitches.
The Phillies have the chance to win the best-of-three series Wednesday night, while the Marlins will attempt to force a decisive Game 3. The winner of this series advances to face the top-seeded Atlanta Braves in.
Here are three things to know about the Phillies' Game 1 victory.
1. Wheeler dominates
Zack Wheeler played a pivotal role in the Phillies' run to the World Series last year. In six postseason starts, he amassed a 2.78 ERA and a 33-7 strikeout-to-walk ratio across 35 2/3 innings.
Wheeler added another impressive start to his postseason resume on Tuesday, holding the Marlins to just one run on five hits and no walks in 6 2/3 innings. Wheeler struck out eight batters and generated a game-high 18 swinging strikes.
The Marlins were unable to record multiple baserunners in a frame until the seventh inning. Even then, Wheeler allowed one well-struck ball (a Josh Bell double to right field) before surrendering infield singles to Jake Burger and Bryan De La Cruz. The latter plated Miami's only run.
2. Phillies get lineup-wide contributions
How's this for symmetry: the Phillies notched 10 hits on the night, with everyone contributing at least one. (Trea Turner, ever the overachiever, picked up the slack by recording two.) Alec Bohm, Bryson Stott, Cristian Pache, and Nick Castellanos each drove in runs, with Bohm's third-inning double opening scoring and Castellanos' eighth-inning double closing it.
Amusingly, Bryce Harper was the last Phillie to enter the hit column. If his postseason history is any indication -- heck, if his regular season is any indication -- he could be in for another big month. Harper batted .349/.414/.746 with six home runs and 13 RBI in 17 games last October.
3. Harper runs through stop sign
Speaking of Harper, he even ran through a stop sign in the bottom of the eighth on Castellanos' double to score the Phillies' fourth run. Take a look:
Perhaps Harper was just looking out for third-base coach Dusty Wathan, who had a rough night. First, by electing to not send Kyle Schwarber tagging up in the first inning on a fly out to right field (the Phillies would not score that frame); and later, by sending Nick Castellanos only to see him thrown out at home by Jazz Chisholm Jr. Observe:
Phillies win 4-1
They lead the best-of-three series 1-0. A win tomorrow will advance them to the NLDS.
We're heading to the ninth
It's 4-1 Phillies.
Bryce runs through the stop sign
It hasn't been the best night for Phillies third base coach Dusty Wathan. He held Kyle Schwarber when he probably should have sent him in the first, and Nick Castellanos was thrown out at the plate in the fourth. In the eighth, however, Bryce Harper took matters into his own hands. Harper scored from first on a Nick Castellanos double to the left-field wall, running right through Wathan's stop sign on his way to the plate.
The Phillies take a 4-1 lead to the ninth.
We're through seven
It's still 3-1 Phillies.
Alvarado escapes the jam
It's still 3-1 Phillies as we head into the bottom of the seventh.
That'll be all for Wheeler
Really strong start from him.
Marlins get on the board
Valiant effort by Alec Bohm, but De La Cruz reaches on an infield single and it's now 3-1 Phillies.
Marlins now have the tying run up
Runners on the corners with two outs after Jake Burger reaches.
Marlins showing some life
Josh Bell rips a double into right. They haven't yet been able to solve Wheeler, but perhaps this is the start.
Marsh pinch-hitting for Pache
That means you won't get to see the Phillies trot out an outfield of Pache, Marsh, and Rojas -- the anti-gravity defense, if you will, because nothing falls.
Wheeler with another goose egg
He's up to six scoreless. Only at 73 pitches. Phillies' win expectancy now around 90%.
We're through five
The Phillies continue to lead 3-0 with Wheeler about to face the bottom of the order.
Still doesn't have a knock.
Every Phillie has a hit except...
Bryce Harper. Go figure. The Phils have nine hits (three doubles, six singles) in four-plus innings, and the only guy in the lineup without one is their biggest star. Harper will get his third at-bat of the game here in the fifth against reliever AJ Puk.
Wheeler is through five shutout innings
Wheeler has allowed just two hits and no walks. He's struck out four batters. He's generated 10 whiffs on 31 swings tonight. He's been everything the Phillies could've asked for: efficient and effective.
If there is one thing in the Marlins' favor
Sometimes if a team misses scoring opportunities, you feel like it comes back to bite them. The Phillies had second and third with no out in the first and failed to score (arguably should've sent Schwarber on the first out fly out, too) and also had Castellanos thrown out at home there. You could argue they should be up at least 5-0. Will that come back? Maybe not, but it's worth remembering.
The Phillies' win expectancy is well over 80%, if you were wondering.