The Philadelphia Phillies are once again on the precipice of greatness.
With their victory over the Mets and the Braves’ loss to the Giants on Saturday, the Phillies are only one game out of first in the NL East. They have the opportunity to finish a season above .500 for the first time since their last division title in 2011 and make the playoffs for the first time since then.
Let’s talk about some of the under-the-radar players who have gotten them this far. These guys aren’t your Wheelers, Harpers, or Realmutos, but they’re every bit as crucial. Baseball is a team sport, after all.
Ranger Suárez might be the most underrated pitcher in MLB this season
This one is probably a big “Duh!” for Phillies fans, but outside of the Phandom, it feels like no one is talking about Ranger Suárez, certainly not enough, anyway.
Over 27 relief and closer appearances for the Phillies between May 9-July 29, Suárez posted a 1.12 ERA. He struck out 42 batters, issued 14 walks, and only allowed five earned runs across 40 1/3 innings of work. He pitched every bullpen role from middle relief, to set-up man, to closer.
Then, manager Joe Girardi announced that Suárez would begin starting for the Phillies for the first time since his debut season in 2018. Fans and media members worried that such drastic change would destroy his season, but the Phillies’ rotation was desperate.
Perhaps most impressive is the fact that Suárez moved back to the starting rotation and hardly missed a beat. He has since stretched his starts out from a couple of innings to full-fledged quality starts, giving the Phillies the immediate help their rotation needed as well as a solid piece for next season and beyond, as he’s not a free agent until 2026.