MLB All-Star Game

Franchise-record 7 All-Stars for Phillies with 4 pitchers selected

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ATLANTA — Four Phillies pitchers will join their three starting position players in Arlington, Texas for a franchise-record seven All-Stars.

Zack Wheeler, Ranger Suarez, Jeff Hoffman and Matt Strahm were all selected by the combination of a Player Ballot and the commissioner's office to represent the National League in the July 16 All-Star Game.

Wheeler will likely be replaced because he lines up to start Tuesday and Sunday, the final game before the break.

The other three will join Bryce Harper, Trea Turner and Alec Bohm for the Midsummer Classic.

"I'm really proud of this group," manager Rob Thomson said. "Front office has built a really good roster. I'm proud of the seven guys and I told them that if they put in the guys that I think deserve to go from our club they'd have to put in a 40-man roster for the All-Star Game. It's the most All-Stars in Phillies history in 94 All-Star Games. That tells you something."

The Phillies had six deserving pitchers: the four who made it, Aaron Nola and Cristopher Sanchez. Suarez, Wheeler and Sanchez rank first, third and fifth in the NL in ERA. Nola is 10-4 with a 3.48 ERA, tied for third in the majors in wins.

Hoffman has earned himself a ton of money these last two seasons by turning into one of the most reliable right-handed relievers in baseball after his 30th birthday with his fifth different organization. He has eight saves and a 1.21 ERA with 47 strikeouts and eight walks in 37⅓ innings. Hoffman's ERA in 92 appearances as a Phillie is 1.91. He's their only important free agent after the season and you'd figure bringing him back will be a priority, though it could cost $11-12 million per year.

The Phillies found out which of their players made the All-Star team during a pregame meeting led by Thomson.

"I was shaking a lot," Hoffman said. "It took me a while to calm down, actually. I called my wife, everybody's really happy to cancel our All-Star plans and get to hang out and play baseball instead.

"You don't know how often stuff like this will happen. That's why I try to be in the moment as much as possible, try to enjoy it. I'm happy that all four of my kids and my wife will be there with me and get to enjoy it as a family."

It's the first All-Star selection for Suarez, Hoffman and Strahm. It's the second for Wheeler, who recorded the final out for the National League in the 2021 ASG.

"It's pretty cool to see guys make their first one," Wheeler said. "Hoff, he's had a pretty cool road that he's traveled, Strahm works hard and has gotten better, and Ranger's just been grinding. It's cool to see all those guys get better along the way."

Strahm has been nearly as dominant as Hoffman with a 1.59 ERA, 45 strikeouts and four walks in 34 innings. He's made 36 appearances, 32 without allowing an earned run. The Braves scored twice on him on Opening Day and he has a 1.07 ERA since.

He and Hoffman are throwing partners so neither will have to seek out another pitcher during warmups.

"I might be the only one there with my actual catch partner," Hoffman said. "That was awesome, I think they announced Strahmy's name first and that took more of a weight off my shoulders than hearing my own name called. I know the type of work, time and effort that he puts in. Really happy that we get to enjoy it together."

Like Hoffman, Strahm has taken a winding career path that made this moment feel even sweeter.

He arrived in Philadelphia ahead of 2023 as a pitcher who was effective when healthy, but he'd pitched just 72 innings combined from 2020-22. He tore his left patellar tendon in 2017, and from then through his signing with the Phils, he spent every winter working on strengthening his knee rather than strictly preparing for the season ahead.

He's reached an entirely new level with the Phillies.

"It's Philly. The energy," he said. "Winning every day is everything. ... It still hasn't sunk in."

Suarez' ERA has risen over his last two starts from 1.83 to 2.58, and he joked, "After these couple of outings, I don't think so," when asked Saturday night if he thought he'd still make the team.

He knew he'd be in, though, because the previous body of work was so spectacular.

"I was not serious about that, I was not worried either," Suarez said. "That's what you work for during the season and offseason, you work toward getting to this goal."

Suarez will be joined by his wife, six-year-old daughter and three-year-old son, who watched him in person at Citizens Bank Park for the first time on Father's Day weekend. Traveling from Venezuela to the United States is not easy and they'd only seen Ranger-the-big-leaguer on TV from afar.

"It was all part of my plan," he joked. “They came this year because they knew I was going to make the All-Star team. It's all going according to plan.

"No, I'm just really happy to have them here for my first All-Star selection and I'm sure we'll make the best of it."

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