Phillies Reveal Starters for NL Wild Card Series

Rob Thomson has revealed his plans for the Phillies' first playoff series: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Rob Thomson has revealed his plans for the Phillies' first playoff series: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports /

After officially clinching a playoff spot on Tuesday, the Phillies are already preparing for the first round of the postseason.

Before Wednesday’s game against the Pirates, Philadelphia manager Rob Thomson revealed some of his plans for next week’s NL Wild Card Series.

Phillies Playoff Starters

While the Phillies don’t know who their opponent will be, Thomson said he plans to start Zack Wheeler in Game 1 on Tuesday and Aaron Nola in Game 2 on Wednesday.

No surprise there, as Wheeler and Nola are Philly’s two best starting pitchers. Wheeler is 13-6 with a 3.64 ERA and 207 strikeouts in 188 innings this season, while Nola is 12-9 with a 4.46 ERA and 202 strikeouts in 193 2/3 innings. Both pitchers also played a key part in the team’s playoff run last year, so they’re battle-tested as well.

That wasn’t Thomson’s only major announcement. He also revealed that he’s going to use a closer-by-committee approach, which means Craig Kimbrel won’t necessarily get the ball in every save situation. The Phillies have had a whopping nine different pitchers record saves this season, so they have plenty of options. In particular, Jose Alvarado and Gregory Soto have considerable closing experience in the past.

Thomson also noted that Bryce Harper will man first base during the playoffs. While the vast majority of Harper’s games this year have been at DH, he’s begun playing first base more often lately and will remain there. That will allow Rhys Hoskins to DH if/when he returns from the IL.

This is why clinching a playoff berth early is important — it allows the manager to set his rotation and strategize for the upcoming series. Thomson will likely give his regulars some time off this week as well to let them rest up for the playoffs, which he already did on Wednesday by sitting Trea Turner, Kyle Schwarber, Nick Castellanos, J.T. Realmuto and others.

With Phillies fans eager for the playoffs to start, October can’t come soon enough.

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