The Phillies are in first place, they’ve won eight straight games, and you’re probably asking yourself if it’s safe to get your hopes up. You’re a Philadelphia sports fan, so it’s only natural to feel a little skeptical. But this time, it feels safe to enjoy the ride. Bryce Harper is playing like an MVP, Zack Wheeler is pitching like a Cy Young winner, and the Phillies have one of baseball’s most favorable schedules the rest of the way. This is the best team they’ve had in 10 years, and it might finally be enough to get back to October.
The Phils are the hottest team in baseball after the weekend sweep of the Mets. If you’re feeling skeptical, imagine how Mets fans are feeling.
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Zack Wheeler delivered a start Roy Halladay would’ve loved and other observations by Scott Lauber from the Phillies’ 3-0 shutout of the Mets.
The Phillies retired Roy Halladay’s No. 34 in a ceremony attended by longtime catcher Carlos Ruiz.
Manny Trillo and Larry Bowa reflected on the 1980 legacy and an opportunity missed.
Today: The Phillies are off.
Tomorrow: Aaron Nola faces Max Scherzer in series opener vs. Dodgers, 7:05 p.m.
Wednesday: Kyle Gibson starts against David Price, 7:05 p.m.
Thursday: Phils and Dodgers play series finale. 1:05 p.m.
Friday: Reds come to South Philly for a three-game set, 7:05 p.m.
Stat of the day
Zack Wheeler retired 22 straight batters Sunday en route to a shutout of the Mets on the day of Roy Halladay’s number retirement. The last Phillies pitcher to retire 22 straight batters? Halladay in his perfect game in 2010. And Sunday was Wheeler’s 34th start with the Phillies, which seemed fitting after the Phillies retired Halladay’s No. 34.
Wheeler joined Halladay (perfect game, 5/29/10 at Florida), Cole Hamels (no-hitter, 7/25/15 at Chicago) and Kevin Millwood (no-hitter, 4/27/03 vs. San Francisco) as the only Phillies since 2000 to toss a nine-inning shutout with 11 or more strikeouts and two or fewer hits.
From the mailbag
Send questions by email or on Twitter @matt_breen.
Question: Now that Halladay’s number is retired, when will the Phillies retire [Chase] Utley, [Jimmy] Rollins, and [Ryan] Howard? — Bobby B. via email
Answer: Thanks, Bobby. I’m not sure all three of those numbers will be retired, but they certainly have a chance even if the players are not elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Managing partner John Middleton said last year that the Phillies no longer consider it a “rule” for players to be Hall of Famers before they can have their numbers retired, which is how they retired Dick Allen’s No. 15 last summer.
Rollins and Howard will be on the Hall of Fame ballot later this year, and Utley is two years away. The Phillies will likely let that process play out before they retire any numbers, but it’s going to be interesting to see how it gets handled. Here’s an article from last summer about Middleton’s view on the process.