Not many Phillies have done what Zack Wheeler did in his debut
There haven't been many Phillies in the last two decades to pitch seven innings in their debut with the team.
Zack Wheeler was locked in for his first start as a Phillie Saturday afternoon, inducing a career-high four double-play balls against the Marlins and improbably completing seven innings. He allowed one run on five hits and struck out four to pick up the W. His velocity reached 98 from his first inning to his final pitch.
The expectation early in the season was that starting pitchers would not go deep into games, but we've seen some long, efficient outings around the league in the early going. Aside from Wheeler, the Cubs' Kyle Hendricks pitched a three-hit shutout Friday, while Ross Stripling of the Dodgers and Jack Flaherty of the Cardinals also went seven innings in their season debuts.
Wheeler was only the third Phillie to pitch seven innings in his debut with the team since Roy Halladay in 2010.
Here are Phillies starting pitchers to complete at least seven innings in their debut since 2000 ...
Roy Halladay (April 5, 2010 at Nationals)
Man oh man, was this a Phillies opening day or what? Halladay struck out nine Nationals and gave up a lone run over seven innings while the Phillies' lineup mashed in an 11-1 win. Halladay had the aura of a superhero when he arrived and instantly showed the Phillies and this fanbase that he was about to reach an even higher level in the National League.
Placido Polanco hit a grand slam and Ryan Howard homered in this game. Time flies because it sure doesn't feel like 10+ years ago.
Cliff Lee (July 23, 2009 at Giants)
Cliff Lee's debut was awesome. Nine-inning complete game, four hits, a run, six K's. He also went 2 for 4 with a double. Phillies fans fell in love with Lee that summer for his nonchalant excellence. He pitched 33 of a possible 36 innings in his first four starts as a Phillie and was 5-0 with a 0.68 ERA through five starts.
From 2008-11, no pitcher rattled off longer stretches of gems than Lee. He went on to have two even better months than that, posting a 0.21 ERA in June 2011 and a 0.45 ERA in August 2011, making five starts in each month.
Brett Myers (July 24, 2002 at Cubs)
Myers had a memorable debut at Wrigley Field, going eight innings and allowing just two hits. He reminisced about the outing earlier this week.
Myers threw over 1,200 innings for the Phillies, including playoffs. He had five seasons here with double-digit wins and one with 21 saves. He had two playoff wins and hit .800 in the postseason (4 for 5 with three RBI and the most famous walk in franchise history).
Gavin Floyd (Sept. 3, 2004 vs. Mets)
Gavin Floyd never panned out here but he did have an impressive first start, allowing a run on four hits in seven innings to the Mets in September 2004. Floyd made just 24 appearances as a Phillie with a 6.96 ERA before being dealt with Gio Gonzalez to the White Sox after the 2006 season for Freddy Garcia ... who did not have as notable a Phillies debut.
Cole Irvin (May 12, 2019 at Royals)
Lefty Cole Irvin, who made the opening day roster as a reliever, allowed just one run in Kansas City over seven innings in his debut on Mother's Day last year.
His first two starts were solid before a string of rough outings on the road against good teams (Cubs, Dodgers, Braves, Nationals). He's in the mix as a long man this year.
Ben Lively (June 3, 2017 vs. Giants)
One of the stranger MLB debuts you'll see. Lively picked up 21 outs without a single strikeout in his MLB debut. He allowed one run on four hits.
Lively made 20 starts with the Phillies and went 4-11 with a 4.81 ERA. He was effective that rookie year, though, with 10 quality starts in 15 tries. He's now pitching in South Korea.
A few extras
• Steve Carlton went eight innings and allowed two runs to the Cubs in his Phillies debut in April 1972.
• Paul Byrd pitched a four-hit shutout of the Astros in his Phillies debut on Aug. 17, 1998.
• Garrett Stephenson had a doozy of a debut against the Cardinals in May 1997, allowing two hits and two runs over seven innings with 12 strikeouts.
• Marty Bystrom pitched a shutout at Shea Stadium in September 1980 in what was technically his second appearance as a Phillie (he pitched an inning of relief three days earlier).
• Aaron Nola, Cole Hamels, Jeremy Hellickson and Jerad Eickhoff all pitched well in their debuts, though we tried to limit this list to pitchers who went at least seven innings.