Bailey Falter and Matt Strahm are set to make early season starts for the reigning National League champion Phillies.
The Philadelphia Phillies' strong suit entering the 2023 season is their lineup. With Trea Turner joining an already potent lineup, pitching was to be focused on.
The club already has Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler, and Taijuan Walker penciled to be its top three starters. Temporary setbacks by Ranger Suárez (left forearm inflammation) and Andrew Painter (UCL injury) has caused the Phillies to get creative beyond the Nola, Wheeler and Walker trio, but some clarity was provided Monday morning.
The Phillies appear to have finalized their rotation for the first week of the season by optioning Michael Plassmeyer to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. By doing so, Bailey Falter and Matt Strahm will likely be their fourth and fifth starters to take the ball to start the season, barring a surprise acquisition.
Through six appearances and three starts this spring, Plassmeyer posted a 2.57 ERA, yielding four runs on 13 hits and eight walks spanning 14 innings. The left-hander has looked like he’s still finding his footing and profiles more so like a long reliever due to his inconsistent command issues.
As the fourth starter, Falter finds himself in the position to build on his late-season success in 2022. Falter provided stability in big games for someone who was sent down earlier in the season. This spring, Falter has looked comfortable, mixing his repertoire of pitches to get hitters out. In his most recent start, Falter went five shutout innings against the Detroit Tigers.
Strahm signed to be a reliever but has interestingly started a few games this spring. He appears willing to assume any role asked of him, and that is a great attitude to have. His first start of the season is slated to come against the New York Yankees.
The race seems to be more important than people would have hoped with the recent injuries to Suárez and Painter. While the Phillies will have to weather this slight problem to start the year, the issue could provide further clarity on Falter and Strahm for the long term.