The Phillies rotation for the franchise’s first postseason series since 2011 is set.
As the Wild Card-bound Philadelphia Phillies wrap up their 162-game regular season schedule against the Houston Astros on Wednesday, interim manager Rob Thomson has already begun preparations for the upcoming Wild Card Series.
All three games in the series will take place on the road this Friday, Saturday and Sunday — October 7-9. The Phillies’ most likely opponent will be no other than the St. Louis Cardinals — the team the franchise last faced in Red October in the 2011 National League Division Series.
If there was any speculation about which starting rotation the Phillies will tab to take the mound, Thomson put those thoughts to rest before Tuesday’s interleague game against the Astros. Starting pitcher Ranger Suarez (10-6, 3.37 ERA) has been named the Game 3 starter and will be limited to four innings — or approximately 65 pitches — in the team’s 161st game of the regular season, reports The Athletic’s Matt Gelb.
Meanwhile, right-handers Zack Wheeler (12-7, 2.82 ERA) and Aaron Nola (11-13, 3.25 ERA) — both of whom respectively dazzled this week to secure the team’s postseason berth — will respectively start in Games 1 and 2. It would be amazing if both the perennial Cy Young contenders can dominate against whichever team the Phillies will go up against — and a pivotal Game 3 featuring Suarez will not be necessary at all.
Suarez will not be the only pitcher the Phillies will be careful with over the final two games of the regular season. Gelb added that the club will give some “tune-ups” for their relievers.
Right-hander David Robertson has not pitched since September 29 against his former Chicago Cubs team. Getting the 2009 World Series champion ready for a hopeful deep postseason run will be among Thomson’s priorities either Tuesday or Wednesday in Houston.
It is exciting to see the Phillies back in the postseason for the first time in 11 seasons. Hopefully, their Red October stay is not as short as their 2007 NLDS sweep against the Colorado Rockies.