Saturday, May 4, 2024

Wheels in Motion

 There's really two main compact rotation units that have commanded the conversation recently. The Mariners' rotation, who've been working with Gilbert-Castillo-Kirby-Miller-Hancock and yielding excellent results, and the Philadelphia Phillies. Remember, like...8 years ago when the Phils just kept throwing people out there and hoping they lasted 5 innings? Y'know, guys like Jerome Williams, Jerad Eickhoff, Ben Lively, that ilk. It's wild that I can remember going to games and hoping we'd get through it. Whereas now you go to a game and you're basically set no matter who you see. Over the past few seasons I've seen starts from Zack Wheeler, Aaron Nola and Ranger Suarez in person, and the starting pitching has never really been an issue. 

Which brings us to 2024. Where the rotation is Wheeler-Nola-Suarez-Spencer Turnbull-Taijuan Walker/Cristopher Sanchez. And really the only one who's shed blood on the mound so far has been Walker, but that's in literally one start back, and one could make the case that the runs came from leaving him out there for too long. The main 5 have a combined 2.35 ERA, which is pretty fantastic.

And what's great is that the brunt of the work isn't just on Wheeler and Nola, the two veterans. Wheeler's having another great season, he's got a 1.91 ERA and 52 Ks, but he might not be even the best Phils starter right now. That honor would go to Ranger Suarez, who is 5-0 with a 1.32 ERA and has been dominant in a way not seen since his dangerous 2021. And then at the same time you have Spencer Turnbull, healthy for the first time in a while, with a 1.67 ERA and 36 Ks. Considering that Turnbull was a 'let's see if there's anything left' guy going into the season, for him to be as reliable as he's been has been a nice surprise. And it's at the point where I think Cristopher Sanchez knows he's #5, but he can still have big games and shut people out every so often. I think we're in good shape with this schematic, though I do wonder how Walker will continue to fit into things.

The Phils as a whole are doing all the right things. They were the first team to 20 wins, and they did so from second place considering that the Braves have a better record than us without winning 20. They just had Alec Bohm win a Player of the Week honor, he's currently hitting .362 with 30 RBIs. Turner and Marsh are also hitting like mad, Schwarber has 8 homers, Harper's been steady despite a low average and the bullpen's been on the mend. The team hasn't looked this good in April in years, and is hoping for a season that makes them a worthy adversary all-around. I hope they can build on this and keep being that hard to beat.

Coming Tomorrow- I was initially worried that his rookie contact numbers were the result of a fluke year. Turns out this is just what he does.

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