Aaron Nola Named Phillies' World Series Game 1 Starter over Zack Wheeler

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IV

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 19: Aaron Nola #27 of the Philadelphia Phillies pitches during the first inning against the San Diego Padres in game two of the National League Championship Series at PETCO Park on October 19, 2022 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Aaron Nola will start Game 1 of the World Series against the Houston Astros and Zack Wheeler will get the nod in Game 2, Phillies manager Rob Thomson told reporters Wednesday.

Thomson appeared on the 94WIP Midday Show on Tuesday and said he was leaning toward starting Nola in Game 1 on Friday.

Wheeler, 32, has been absolutely lights-out in his four postseason appearances, posting a 1.78 ERA in 25.1 innings with 25 strikeouts. In two starts against the San Diego Padres in the NLCS, he held the team's dangerous lineup to four hits and two runs, striking out 16 across both wins.

Nola, 29, has been excellent himself this postseason, posting a 3.12 ERA and 18 strikeouts in 17.1 innings. Those numbers were hurt by a tough start against the Padres in Game 2, when he gave up six runs, but in his wild-card round and NLDS starts, he gave up just nine hits and a run while striking out 12 batters in 12.2 innings.

That one-two punch, alongside a loaded lineup and strong postseasons from José Alvarado and Seranthony Domínguez in the later innings, has propelled the Phillies to the World Series, where the fearsome Astros await.

While Houston was fantastic all season long, earning the top seed in the American League after a 106-win season, the Phillies were the final team to get into the postseason in the National League, winning 87 games in the regular season.

It's the ultimate front-runner vs. underdog matchup, and both Wheeler and Nola will have a major say in how it unfolds.