Phillies lefty gets his due as team announces rotation for opening series vs Braves

Ranger Suárez earns the nod for Game 3 of the opening series against the Atlanta Braves.

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Ranger Suárez has been named the Game 3 starter in the opening series
Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Ranger Suárez has been named the Game 3 starter in the opening series / Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
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The Philadelphia Phillies are less than a week away from wrapping up Grapefruit League play in Florida, and the team is now focusing on finalizing the Opening Day roster. Another round of roster cuts was announced on Tuesday, with no real surprises standing out among the players optioned to minor league camp.

The more notable news following yesterday's exciting 0-0 tie with the Detroit Tigers was that manager Rob Thomson has officially set his rotation up for the opening weekend. A social media post from The Philadelphia Inquirer's Scott Lauber details how the Phillies plan to match up with the Atlanta Braves when the season begins next week.

Thomson had previously announced that Zack Wheeler will toe the rubber for the home opener, with Aaron Nola expected to pitch Game 2 of the series. We now know that Ranger Suárez will open the season in the third spot in the rotation and start Game 3 of the series versus the Braves.

It's not all that surprising, as Suárez has been dominant in his four spring training appearances. In four starts and 15 innings, Suárez has not allowed a run, struck out 16 batters, and allowed only four walks and five hits. Ranger will now hope to carry those results into the regular season next week.

Suárez's hot spring has manager Rob Thomson taking notice

With questions about starter Taijuan Walker's readiness to start the season in the rotation growing as he looks to regain his velocity, the numbers Suárez has put up on the mound have allowed Thomson to breathe a sigh of relief as he sets his rotation for the beginning of the season. Speaking with Steve Kornacki of MLB.com, Thomson spoke glowingly about how sharp Suárez has looked so far in spring training.

“His command,” said Thomson per Kornacki. “One, that he’s healthy. But his command has been outstanding. He had all his pitches going today and it was a little bit tough to see [at twilight] for the hitters. But his stuff was really good."

“He’s got all his pitches going," continued Thomson. "Breaking ball’s good, changeup’s good -- has got a lot of bottom to it. His two-seam [fastball], he’s got a lot of command with it. It’s been all good.”

With the Phillies rotation set to feature Wheeler, Nola, and Suárez when they open up play next week, the focus will now be on the fourth and fifth spots in the rotation. Taijuan Walker's next spring training start will be worth following as he's been slow to get things going in camp, and that could force a roster decision before the Phillies leave for Philadelphia next week. Cristopher Sánchez will factor into the rotation plans and could slide into the fourth spot. Spring training still has some storylines to follow, as some final roster decisions are still in flux.

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