Phillies pitching notes on Sunday's game and the week ahead

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The Phillies were in Tampa Sunday for an uneventful 4-0 loss to the Yankees.

Zack Wheeler started the game and threw 49 pitches. He wasn’t particularly sharp and gave up a grand slam to Brett Gardner in the second inning.

“What I liked about Zack’s outing today was that he responded pretty well after giving up four runs, and the last hitter he faced was probably the best (he looked) all day,” manager Joe Girardi said.

The last two batters Wheeler faced were Aaron Judge and Aaron Hicks. Wheeler threw fastballs at 97 and 98 mph to Judge and struck him out looking at a slider. Hicks went down swinging at a slider.

"So he found himself," Girardi said. "And during the regular season, if you give up four early, you’ve still got to believe you have a chance to win that game. We just didn’t score any runs today."

Wheeler was followed by Ivan Nova (two innings), Bryan Mitchell, Brandon Kintzler and Tony Watson.

Kintzler and Watson pitched a scoreless inning apiece, Watson whiffing two.

“They know how to pitch,” Girardi said of the two non-roster invites looking to make the Phillies’ bullpen. “They’re not going to beat themselves. They may not strike out as many people as other relievers, but they know how to get outs. That’s what you’re gonna see out of those two guys on a consistent basis."

Each has a good shot to make the Phillies’ season-opening 'pen.

Bryce Harper, still getting up to full speed after a late-season back injury in 2020, started for the second time as the designated hitter and went hitless in three at-bats. He said Friday that he could be back in the field late next week if things go according to plan with his throwing program.

The Phillies are off Monday, one of two scheduled off-days during spring training. The other is March 18. 

Zach Eflin will stay on turn and throw a simulated game Monday. 

Vince Velasquez will start Tuesday’s game and be piggybacked by Matt Moore.

Spencer Howard will start Wednesday and be followed by Chase Anderson.

The games Wednesday (NBCSP+), Thursday (NBCSP+) and Saturday (NBCSP) will be televised.

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