Zack Wheeler says his success in Game 6 will come down to command, not just velo


Four hours before Game 5 of the World Series on Thursday night, Zack Wheeler threw a bullpen session at Citizens Bank Park.

The next time he climbs a mound will be Saturday night at Minute Maid Park in Houston for Game 6.

Wheeler, who was on the injured list from August 20 to September 21 with elbow tendinitis, has been experiencing arm fatigue lately. He said Thursday's bullpen session went well.

Asked if he felt 100 percent, the pitcher said, "I don't think anyone feels 100 percent right now."

But he feels good enough to go Saturday. He will pitch with two extra days' rest.

Will it help?

"Time will tell," he said.

Wheeler was hit hard in a Game 2 loss to the Astros in Houston on Saturday. He gave up five runs in five innings. The Astros tagged him for three doubles and a homer. He walked three and struck out three.

The right-hander's fastball velocity was down in the game. His four-seam fastball averaged 95.6 mph, down from 97.2 in his previous start. He reached 97 mph just three times. In his previous start, he threw 11 fastballs at 99 mph.

Afterward, Phillies manager Rob Thomson said Wheeler was dealing with arm fatigue. 

Wheeler indicated that he is not as concerned with velocity as he is the location of his pitches.

"I've got to command the fastball," he said. 

Depending on the outcome of Game 5, Wheeler could be pitching to save the Phillies' season and force a Game 7 or clinch a World Series title.

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