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Cloud nine: Phillies 4, Diamondbacks 0

A shutout by the Phillies’ pitching staff led the team to its ninth consecutive win

Arizona Diamondbacks v Philadelphia Phillies
Zack Wheeler handled six of the Phillies’ nine shutout innings
Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

In their current winning streak, the Phillies have won in a variety of ways: They’ve blown opponents out, they’ve had a couple nail-biters, and even came away with a ninth inning comeback. On Saturday afternoon, their offense wasn’t at its best, but it didn’t matter because Zack Wheeler and the bullpen held the Arizona Diamondbacks scoreless. The result was their ninth win in a row, this time by a 4-0 score.

A long winning streak tends to bring out a variety of heroes, and on Saturday, it was finally Nick Castellanos’ time to shine. He got the scoring started with an RBI double in the first inning.

And despite not exactly crushing the ball, he added an insurance run late:

The middle two runs were courtesy of Bryson Stott who certainly seems to have found his hitting stroke over the past two weeks.

Four runs are a relative meager output for the Phillies’ offense lately, and they did waste some good scoring opportunities in the middle innings. But that ultimately didn’t matter, because they had their ace on the mound. Zack Wheeler delivered another strong performance, only giving up two hits and striking out eight batters in six shutout innings.

The D’Backs were able to work some deep counts, so his pitch count was up to 98 after six innings. Instead of pushing him, manager Rob Thomson trusted his bullpen. With Serathony Dominguez and Conor Brogdon presumably unavailable, that strategy looked a little questionable in the seventh.

Jeurys Familia started the inning, but due to poor control and poor fielding on his part, he left with the bases loaded. Andrew Bellatti might not be anyone’s first choice to escape a bases loaded jam, but he was able to coax a long fly out from Ketel Marte.

Brad Hand and Christopher Sanchez had an easier time of it in the eighth and ninth, and once Geraldo Perdomo grounded out to second baseman(!) Matt Vierling, the Phillies had secured their ninth straight win.

Can the Phillies finish off the sweep and win their tenth in a row on Sunday? I certainly wouldn’t bet against them right now. In fact, these days, the question seems to be less “will they win?” and more “how will they win?”