The biggest question regarding the Phillies right now is who will be in the starting rotation come playoffs. First, let us go through the possibilities:
1) Zack Wheeler
He is the number one on this team and should start the first game in any playoff series. Wheeler has the stuff to go deep into games. In his last four starts, Wheeler has been good in three of them. The one bump in the road was the Atlanta Braves, where he gave up 6 runs in five innings, including 3 home runs. Wheeler has been the most consistent of the 6 starters the Phillies have. He started 6 playoff games posting a 2.78 era last season, going 35 innings with a 0.73 WHIP. He currently has a 3.70 era for the year.
2) Aaron Nola
Perhaps the most interesting of all the starters right now. Nola on the year has posted a 4.62 era. But the most bothersome thing has to be that he has given up 31 home runs on the year. The big inning has been tough to avoid for Nola, it seems when the blow-up is coming he has had no answers. He can get you deep into games when on, which may very well keep him as a number two moving toward October. Nola has to keep the ball in the park and his next few starts could be crucial, in the sense of bringing a positive vibe into the postseason. Nola pitched well down the stretch last year, but his playoff numbers were not eye-popping, in 5 starts he had a 4.91 era with an uncharacteristic 1.32 WHIP.
3) Ranger Suarez
Here is where it gets interesting. He has had some signs of greatness, especially in the month of June. Then injuries caught up with him. Ranger has come back well, pitching into the 7th inning against the Marlins with a no-hit bid. He then pitched against the Cardinals and threw 6 innings with just 1 earned run. Ranger could be that lucky surprise that the Phillies are looking for. He has shown he has ice in his veins, pitching fantastic in the 2022 playoffs. Ranger should get a nod.
4) Taijuan Walker,
He has shown flashes this year of being really good, but in his last 4 starts, he has gone 23 innings giving up 17 earned runs. Walker is not a guy to write off, although I believe Ranger is showing enough now to put Walker into that number 4 role. Command has been an issue for a long time. He had one playoff start last year and it was a forgettable one.
5) Cristopher Sanchez,
Sanchez pitched well all season, but is hitting an innings limit and who knows when or will he be used. He seems to not be swayed by any type of pressure. He may be a good piece for the Phillies to eat innings.
6) Michael Lorenzen
He has pitched in the pen, so I think we know the answer.
My starting rotation as of today would be
- Zack Wheeler
- Ranger Suarez
- Aaron Nola