Philadelphia Phillies

Suárez's strong start proving he can be part of the Phillies' starting trifecta

Ranger Suárez displayed another impressive outing on Thursday night, moving to 2-0 on the season.

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Think of the Phillies rotation as a scale, the kind the blind-folded woman holds as a symbol of justice.

On one side are Zach Wheeler and Aaron Nola, two highly-paid veterans from whom much is expected. On the other are Taiwan Walker (or Spencer Turnbull) and Cristopher Sanchez. For them there are high hopes.

And right in the middle, representing the tipping point, is lefthander Ranger Suárez. If he pitches well enough to be grouped with Wheeler and Nola, the rotation should have a strong 1-2-3 that can compete against almost anybody.

Suárez has been a little inconsistent since bursting onto the scene with a 1.36 earned run average in 39 games (12 starts) in 2021. The next year he was sidelined by a lower back strain. Last season he was on the injured list with a strained elbow for the first six weeks.

Thursday night, in a 5-1 win over the Pirates, the 28-year-old lefthander reminded the announced crowd of 33,362 how dominant he can be when he’s right. He turned in six shutout innings, striking out eight and allowing just two hits and two walks.

The Phillies are now above .500 (7-6) for the first time this year.

After getting outs on two hard-hit balls in the first, he settled in. The Bucs managed to get only three balls out of the infield against him.

The key was getting ahead in the count. Eight times he went 0-2 to the batter.

“This what I’ve been working on since the offseason, to have these kids of results,” Suarez said through interpreter Diego D’Aniello. “Now we’re just working on maintaining this throughout the season. To get ahead in the count.

“It’s not only the command, but I think the pitches I’ve been executing have been the main reason why I’ve been able to get ahead so many times. Having a full spring training helps you get to know your pitches and that’s exactly what I’ve done. And because I know my pitches I know what I can do. And how I can use them in any situation.”

Suárez isn’t the only bright spot, either. The Phillies starters have a combined earned run average of 2.74 so far. That’s the sort of stat that tends to tip the scales toward success.

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