The Phillies held a simulated intersquad game tonight at Citizens bank Park, with the team being split in half as they prepare for Opening Night just a little over a week away. Newly added Zack Wheeler made the start for one team, Vince Velasquez made the start for the other, with the major takeaway from tonight being that both arms looked great.
Retired 14/19 Batters /3Ks/ 3 Hits allowed/ 2 Walks
Wheeler showed what he’s capable of tonight, from the first pitch he brought great tempo and command of the strike zone. He was favoring his fastball to get ahead in the count and was finishing hitters with his curveball. The curve induced plenty of weak ground balls as he shut out half the Phillies in his 4+ innings of work. Wheeler did struggle with Jay Bruce, as he worked a full count and walked in his first plate appearance, then ripped a single to the right field wall in his second at bat. After giving up a leadoff single in his final inning of work, Wheeler promptly rolled a double play ball to cap off a stellar outing. His ability to pound the strike zone early on, and the volume of ground balls he produced is very encouraging as he’s one of the players most likely to have a big impact on the Phillies playoff implications.
Intersquad Grade: B+
Retired 13/16 Batters/ 6Ks/ 2 hits/ 1 walk
Velasquez looked incredible tonight. For a pitcher who has struggled with tempo, command, longevity and many more things over the past few seasons, he looked vastly improved tonight. Velasquez, who was always fastball dominant, showed great command of his off-speed stuff seeming to favor it tonight. He also showed great command of a two-seam fastball, a pitch I don’t remember him favoring last season. His best pitch of the night was a tight breaking curveball to strikeout Bryce Harper swinging in the first inning. A major takeaway from Vince in this outing: he was excellent the second and third times through the lineup, something he struggled with in 2019. After a Bryce Harper leadoff single in his second at-bat he followed up by rolling Realmuto into a double play. All in all it was a very promising outing as Vince fights for the final spot in the Phillies Rotation.