Some good news for the Phillies as the team wrapped up Summer Camp late this afternoon and now turns its attention to the Miami Marlins for Opening Day.
Pitcher Zack Wheeler and his wife, Dominique, had their first-born child on Monday night.
Phillies manager Joe Girardi delivered the news to reporters following the team’s final intrasquad game at Citizens Bank Park.
“Zack and his wife, Dominique, had a healthy baby boy Monday night around 10 p.m.,” Girardi said. “So he had a healthy baby boy, so he will start game two.”
And that’s that. Obviously, not only is this great news for Wheeler’s family, but it’s also great news for the Phillies.
It had felt like a foregone conclusion that Wheeler would miss (understandably) at least a start or two for the birth, but that is no longer the case. In a shortened 60-game season, missing two starts is roughly the equivalent of five starts in a normal season, so it even the briefest of absences is amplified.
Given the numerous question marks that fill the middle and backend of the Phillies’ starting rotation, retaining the potential of having Wheeler for a full 12 starts is a big boost. During a 60-game season in a hotly-contested division it’s not a stretch to think the winner could be decided by a game or two.
As for the rest of the rotation, Aaron Nola will make his third straight Opening Day start. Wheeler gets the Saturday afternoon game, and Vince Velasquez, the surprise of this summer camp, will take the ball in Sunday’s series finale.
As for how the rotation will shake out against the Yankees, Arrieta, who threw 88 pitches in his final tune-up today, will start Monday.
Arrieta, who pitched in the searing heat, struggled in the first inning. He allowed six of the first seven batters he faced to reach base. However, he got stronger throughout his appearance and settled in.
“Jake will start game four. We still gotta take a look at (Zach) Eflin to see where he’s at after his start,” Girardi said.
Eflin will throw in a simulated game tomorrow before the team makes its decision. If Eflin can’t go, it’s likely that Nick Pivetta would step in and make the Tuesday start.