ATLANTA – Maybe the Phillies heard what Dave Dombrowski had to say before the game.
Or maybe everyone just grabbed a seat on the Zack Wheeler Excellence Express and enjoyed the ride.
Whatever the case, the Phillies were victorious in their first meeting of the season against the defending World Series champion Atlanta Braves on Monday night. Rhys Hoskins stroked a three-run double, Roman Quinn drove in a pair of runs and cut down one with his arm and, of course, Wheeler was Wheeler in leading a 7-3 win.
All in all, a good way to start a series against the Braves, who have won four straight National League East titles and prevailed in seven of nine meetings against the Phillies last season in Atlanta.
Wheeler, an Atlanta area native who went to high school just 21 miles west of Truist Park, picked right up where he left off last season against the Braves. He pitched 6 2/3 innings of two-run ball, walked none and struck out 10.
“It’s just another game,” Wheeler said of the opponent. “But it’s nice to be at home and sleep in my own bed.”
Wheeler said he did not leave many tickets for the game as players often do when they play in their hometown.
“All business,” he said.
Wheeler faced the Braves five times in 2021 and allowed just five runs in 33 2/3 innings (1.60 ERA) while striking out 41 and walking seven.…