In just a few short hours, the Philadelphia Phillies will take on the division rival Miami Marlins in the wild card round of the 2023 playoffs. This should be a fascinating matchup between a Phillies team that seems to have all the ingredients to make another deep postseason run and a Miami team that needed some late season heroics just to get into the postseason.
On paper, the Phillies are a strictly better team and are rightly favored to win the series. However, the Marlins have given the Phillies fits in 2023 (Philadelphia is just 6-7 against Miami in 2023), so let's take a look at how the pitching matchup between the two teams looks heading into the first round.
Phillies vs. Marlins Projected Playoff Rotations
Phillies Starting Pitchers
Marlins Starting Pitchers
Ranger Suarez/Taijuan Walker
The Phillies' wild card series rotation is absolutely loaded
As we saw last season, the Phillies' pitching staff is built to win short series in the playoffs and it all starts with Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola at the top. Wheeler was tremendous yet again this season with a 3.61 ERA and 3.15 FIP in 32 starts this season. Aaron Nola's season hasn't been as good, but he is still a clear #2 here despite having a rough September on the mound with a 5.47 ERA.
The third spot is a little more speculative, although Ranger Suarez will probably get the nod if a Game Three has to happen. The young lefty has been very uneven in 2023, but has experience pitching in the playoffs and the Phillies just have to hope he looks more like the June version of himself instead of the one they saw in May and July. Taijuan Walker and Cristopher Sanchez being on the playoff roster gives the Phillies some length and alternatives if they decide not to go with Suarez or at least keep him on a short leash.
The Marlins' playoff rotation has been decimated by injuries
This matchup here is a lot closer if Sandy Alcantara and Eury Perez weren't hurt, but they are and it really hurts the Marlins here being without a Cy Young winner and one of the most exciting young pitchers in baseball. Presumably, the Marlins are going to go with two lefties, Jesus Luzardo and Braxton Garrett, for the first two games of the series. Luzardo has put up a 3.63 ERA in 32 starts this season while has been equally as good overall and particularly stingy over the last couple of months.
Edward Cabrera is probably the next starter up for Miami although they have also been very willing to throw bullpen games if they feel like the matchup warrants it, so that could be the gameplan for a Game Three. Having to go against two lefties could hurt the Phillies' lefty hitters like Kyle Schwarber, Bryce Harper, and Brandon Marsh, but Nick Castellanos, Trea Turner, and Alec Bohm have to be licking their chops.
If Miami was fully healthy, this matchup is really close especially if Alcantara was at the height of his powers, but as is, this is a pretty clear win for Philadelphia.