PHILS INSIDER

'I think Jackie would want us to play tomorrow' — Wheeler gets ball on Jackie Robinson Day

PHILS INSIDER

After a one-day break to bring attention to racial injustice, the Phillies will return to action Friday night at Citizens Bank Park against the Atlanta Braves.

The Phillies will return home after a road trip in which they went 4-5.

They have won three games in a row to run their record to 12-14.

Rookie Spencer Howard had been scheduled to pitch Thursday night's series finale against the Washington Nationals. With Phillies players deciding not to play and the game being postponed, manager Joe Girardi will skip over Howard's turn in the rotation and go with Zack Wheeler as the starting pitcher Friday night against the Braves. Girardi did not announce his pitching plans beyond Wheeler.

Wheeler is 3-0 with a 2.76 ERA in five starts with the Phillies. He pitched seven innings of two-run ball — with no walks and eight strikeouts — against the Braves in his last start. The Phillies squandered that excellent pitching performance and lost the game, 6-5, to the Braves in the ninth inning.

Friday is Jackie Robinson Day in Major League Baseball and the juxtaposition of that important day with Thursday's events is not lost on anyone.

"I think Jackie would want us to play tomorrow," Washington manager Dave Martinez said after his team's game against the Phillies was postponed Thursday. "He brought unity to this game." 

There was no immediate word on a makeup date for Thursday's postponement. The Phillies host the Nationals in a series next week and visit Washington during the final week of the season so a doubleheader looks likely. The Phillies already have four doubleheaders next month.