Phillies move Ranger Suárez to the rotation
Ranger Suárez has bailed the Phillies out a few different times this season. From his high-leverage stints to becoming the team’s full-time closer for a bit, this team has needed Suárez all over the place this season, and he has delivered.
Last weekend, it was announced that Suárez would be shifting to the starting rotation, despite not having started a game since 2018. They planned to start him out slow and continue to build his arm strength up.
Despite acquiring Kyle Gibson at the deadline, the Phillies needed more in the rotation, with Zach Eflin injured and Vince Velasquez being totally ineffective. Re-enter Chase Anderson and enter, Suárez.
Of course, Phillies fans were not thrilled:
In Suárez’s first start, he went three innings as planned and only threw 33 pitches. It’s worth noting that several of the “regular” Phillies starters have struggled to exceed three innings, while Suárez no-hit the Nationals and only walked one batter, so even his short start was a vast improvement over the norm.
In his next start, the Phillies plan to have Suárez almost double his pitch count to hover around 60-65 pitches.
The key issue with Suárez in the rotation going forward is his ability to mix pitches. He’s thrown fastballs 67% of the time, changeups 27% of the time, and his slider just 6% of the time. This will have to change if he wants to be an effective starter.
It is hard to imagine Suárez working out in the rotation being only a two-pitch pitcher, but even having to increase his slider usage, he might be the best, or rather only, option right now. Moore should be in the bullpen, Bailey Falter is on the COVID IL, and Velasquez is on the IL, but really should be off the team.
The bullpen was already struggling before Suárez shifted to the rotation, but the Phillies don’t really have any other options right now.