The Phillies and Cardinals threw it back a few decades Monday night with both starting pitchers going deep. Both Zack Wheeler and Adam Wainwright pitched into the ninth, with Wheeler completing eight innings and Wainwright taking down all nine.
It was the only game in MLB this season in which both starting pitchers went at least eight innings. And there was only one example all of last season — Houston’s Zack Greinke vs. Colorado’s Antonio Senzatela on Aug. 18.
Obviously, in the age of specialization, hard throwing and attention to pitch counts, starting pitchers do not go nearly as deep into ballgames as they once did. Monday night was an example of two veterans getting the ball and working quickly and efficiently. No gamesmanship, no long pauses, no messing around. The game was over in 2 hours, 22 minutes.
It was the Phillies’ fastest nine-inning game since June 8, 2019, when Nick Pivetta pitched a complete game against the Reds.
It was also just their third win in the last two seasons when scoring two or fewer runs. Two of those wins have come in the last nine days against the Cardinals, the other being Aaron Nola’s first career nine-inning complete game.
Wheeler has lived up to his price tag so far as a Phillie. In 16 starts, he has a 2.98 ERA and has averaged just under 6.5 innings per start. There’s been no buyer’s remorse.