It all comes down to tonight. After Aaron Nola, and the Phillies lineup, could not get the job done in game 6, the Phillies need a game 7 win to get to the World Series. Somehow it is the first game 7 the Phillies have ever played. And after losing 3 of the last 4 games, it is a bit hard to be confident going into tonight. The one saving grace, Ranger Suarez is on the mound.
To this point in his career, Ranger has been as good as it gets in the playoffs. That is not hyperbole. He literally has the best postseason ERA ever for pitchers with at least 5 starts. 0.94 across 6 starts and 2 bullpen appearances. He has given up just 1 run across 3 starts and 14 innings this year.
The Phillies lost his game 3 start, but not because of him. Ranger went 5.1 shutout innings and allowed just 3 hits and a walk. The problem was the bats mustered just a single run, and the D Backs starter Brandon Pfaadt dominated them. Pfaadt may have come into the playoffs with an ERA over 5, and may have given up 22 HRs this season, but he has been dominant in his last two playoff outings. The Phillies got just 2 hits against him through 5.2 innings. And they struck out 9 times. And if they go swinging at his breaking pitch like they did the last time, it will be a similar performance in game 7.
Will Ranger step up again? Will Rob Thomson actually let him get past the 6th inning? Suarez is making by far the most important start of his career. And if we have learned anything about Ranger, is that he will not be overwhelmed by the moment. But before he takes the mound at 8 pm tonight, let’s take a look at his history vs the Diamondbacks hitters.