Friday, May 31, 2024

Ranger Than Fiction


Tomorrow night, I'll be heading to Citizens Bank Park to see for myself about one of the big baseball stories of 2024: the sheer unhittability of Ranger Suarez. 

Ranger Suarez's high bar for Phils work was already 2021, where he was used in basically every role under the sun and topped out as a truly great starting option. He'd been, at best, consistent in the years that followed, and was responsible for some excellent starts last year especially. I've seen him pitch once before I think; I've seen pretty much everybody in this rotation pitch [Nola, Wheeler, not Sanchez though], and I've liked what I've seen every time. Suarez is not a flashy pitcher, at least not from what I recall; he doesn't need to hit the high gas, he's just got great control and just vexes batters.

In the eleven games Suarez has pitched this year, he is 9-1, with a 1.75 ERA, 77 strikeouts and a 0.819 WHIP. This is a first half start that only comes around once in a while. I remember Zack Greinke being similarly dominant during the 2015 season. Suarez is doing this well for a few reasons, and the most important one is the run support. The Phillies lineup has definitely been showing up this year, and even when Harper or Bohm doesn't do anything, somebody like Edmundo Sosa or Nick Castellanos will do something surprising. It is rare to see this team shut out, especially at this point in the year. 

The other thing is Suarez' ability to go deep into games without overtaxing himself. This is something that Aaron Nola, Zach Wheeler, and honestly Spencer Turnbull, have been able to do this season. Suarez can just get to the end of a start without giving up many hits, or runs, and just keep at it another few days later. The closest Suarez has gotten to being 'lit up' was giving up 4 runs at Coors Field. And for Coors Field, that's honestly kinda low. And even then he still lasted 6 innings. 

The Phils already knew they could rely upon Nola and Wheeler. Now they've got Suarez in just as good of a position. And honestly, Cristopher Sanchez isn't too far from that category either, he just needs to even out a bit more. But yeah, Suarez being a league talent this year is really good for this team. I just hope he'll be able to keep it up.

The Phils have the Cardinals in town this weekend, and this is the kind of series they could go into too cockily. As I'm writing this, they seem to be doing well enough, but the Cardinals have enough guys that can give this team trouble. One of them, Sonny Gray, will be on the mound tomorrow night, so let's hope we've figured out the bullpen.

Coming Tomorrow- You count this guy out for 5 seconds and he starts hitting a billion home runs. 

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