SAN DIEGO — Zack Wheeler dazzled. Kyle Schwarber and Bryce Harper blasted.
Lather, rinse, repeat.
The beat, and beatings, go on for Philadelphia, following the identical pattern. The Phillies delivered a 2-0 opening win over San Diego within the National League Championship Series on a warm Southern California evening Tuesday.
There have been three hot spots specifically: The bats of Schwarber and Harper on two particular swings within the fourth and sixth innings, and the catcher’s glove as J.T. Realmuto was on the business end of a pleasant mixture of mid-90s fastballs and low-80s curveballs as Wheeler’s dominating postseason continued.
Pitching and thunder have carried Philadelphia through the playoffs to this point, and the Phillies look like pleased to ride it deep into the autumn.
Schwarber absolutely annihilated a Yu Darvish cutter that didn’t cut to start out the sixth inning, blasting it 488 feet until it disappeared into the second row of the second deck in right field. It was the longest home run ever recorded at Petco Park, which opened in 2004. That prolonged the Phillies’ result in 2-0 and, with Wheeler throwing mysteries with none clues to Padres hitters for seven innings, that was enough.
It was nothing recent in San Diego, despite the fact that it was the Padres’ first N.L.C.S. game since 1998. Wheeler got here into the day with an 18⅔ -innings scoreless streak against the Padres and, over seven regular season profession starts, had a 2.06 E.R.A. against them.
Wheeler was every bit as dominant Tuesday. He held the Padres hitless through 4 innings. Not until Wil Myers stroked a single up the center with one out within the fifth did the Padres find the hit column, and Myers was the primary base runner allowed by Wheeler after Juan Soto’s first-inning walk. He also was the last. Wheeler threw seven one-hit innings, striking out three and limiting traffic as if all roads were closed.
The Padres battled Wheeler through a 24-pitch first inning, but he sailed through the subsequent two, needing only 13 pitches to acquire the six outs.
San Diego did manage two base runners in the underside of the ninth inning, due to a walk to Jurickson Profar and Juan Soto reaching base on a botched fielder’s alternative, nevertheless it was not enough to bring a run around, as Josh Bell struck out to finish it.
Harper had given Wheeler all of the respiratory room he would wish within the fourth inning by pounding a 1-0 fastball the other way over the left field fence. It gave the look of a key moment for Harper since the last time before Tuesday he was within the Petco Park batter’s box, on June 25, Padres starter Blake Snell drilled him with a pitch and broke his thumb. Harper was sidelined for 2 months.
“I believe anytime you get hit or break a bone or anything like that, those doubts creep into your mind of you would possibly not come back this yr or what’s going to occur, how the team goes to react,” Harper said before Game 1.
The Phillies clearly reacted well over the course of the season, and Harper is their hottest bat. He’s 11 for 26 with 4 homers and three doubles this postseason.
Wheeler and Aaron Nola have combined to cover 52 percent (32 of 62) of Philadelphia’s postseason innings. And it’s Nola who will start Game 2 on Wednesday afternoon. The novelty there will probably be that he’ll face his brother, San Diego catcher Austin Nola — just as he did in a regular-season game — which surely will put their parents in an emotional and awkward position.
One other Game 2 twist will probably be Snell starting for the Padres and facing Harper. The Phillies slugger, each in pain and anger, screamed at Snell after the pitch that broke his thumb in June however the two spoke shortly afterward to smooth things over. Harper knew Snell was not throwing at him but, moderately, attempting to work inside.
“I’m going to pitch him the identical way,” Snell said Tuesday. “I never had any intent to hit him. Still don’t. It’s pitching. I’m going to pitch how I pitch. If I hit him, I’m sorry. I’m not trying. You’re a very good hitter. I’ve got to throw the ball in. I’ve got to throw it away, mix it up. I’m going to proceed to pitch like I pitch. Nothing is changing.”