Bryce Harper and the rest of the Phillies cannot stop praising Ranger Suárez
Every year, there’s one player who becomes incredibly clutch for their team, seemingly out of nowhere. For the Phillies, it’s been Ranger Suárez all year.
After Hector Neris’ collapse as closer, Suárez became the Phillies’ only real hope in the bullpen.
Throughout this season, Suárez has been Old Reliable. Between May 9-July 29, he had a 1.12 ERA over 40 1/3 innings and was keeping opposing lineups at a ridiculously-low .152/.244/.239 and .483 OPS.
Then, Joe Girardi took a risk and decided to move Suárez back to the rotation for the first time since 2018. It could’ve ruined everything, but Suárez has continued to be excellent. Across three starts so far, he has a 0.90 ERA and has only allowed one earned run and three hits across 10 innings. He’s slowly working his way up to going deeper into games, but considering many of the Phillies’ established starters are unable to go deep into games and can’t pitch as effectively as Suárez, he’s been a major upgrade.
The Phillies have won all of his starts.
Suárez has been a difference-maker on his team, and it shows in how much his teammates rave about him. After Thursday’s win, Bryce Harper sang his praises:
"“I just ran into him in the hallway coming from the trainer’s room and I told him that it’s incredible to watch him pitch.”“In every single role that he’s been in for us, he’s done an incredible job. It’s very hard to go from reliever to long reliever to closer and back into starting within the first couple years of your big-league career. For him to be able to do that, the emotion he shows on the mound, the no heartbeat I would say. The situation is never too big for him. He goes out there, gets the ball, throws strikes, and doesn’t walk anybody.“I love the way he goes out there. I love his demeanor. He’s one of our five (starters) and he should be for however many years we have him. He does the job every single day and it’s a lot of fun to watch.”"
Suárez made his debut with the Phillies as a starter in 2018, before being moved to the bullpen in 2019. He found success there, though not close to what he’s been doing this year, a 3.14 ERA over 48 2/3 innings in 2019, compared to a 1.07 ERA over 50 1/3 innings so far this season.
His teammate Archie Bradley, who also began his career as a starter before transitioning into a bullpen role, also sang his praises, both on Twitter and after Thursday’s game:
The Phillies are looking to play postseason baseball for the first time since 2011, and if they do, Harper is confident that Suárez will not only be a big reason why they get to October, but will also be a key player in October:
"“When we get into the postseason, he’s going to be a big, big player for us because of the way he knows how to pitch and his demeanor on the mound.”“He could be one of the reasons why we win it.”"
Not ‘if we get to the postseason,’ but “When.”