Due to the Philadelphia Phillies double-header Sunday, the club needed someone to start Thursday evening in Cincinnati. That someone will be LHP Ranger Suarez, Gabe Kapler told the collective media – which included John Clark of NBC Sports Philadelphia – Tuesday.
Suarez, 22, has had a pretty impressive season between Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley in 2018. In 12 starts for Reading, Suarez went 4-3 with a 2.76 ERA. It’s been less than a month since Saurez was promoted to Triple-A, but in three starts for the IronPigs, the Venezuelan-born lefty has gone 1-0 with a 0.57 ERA. In Baseball America‘s midseason top 10 prospects by team, Ben Badler ranked Suarez as the Phillies No. 7 prospect, saying he “projects as a No. 4 starter, with a chance to exceed that in some years.”
Enyel De Los Santos, per Badler, is the Phillies No. 5 overall prospect. Why wasn’t he recalled to make the start? As The Athletic‘s Meghan Montemurro pointed out, De Los Santos was optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley on July 20. He has to remain in the minors for 10 days before being eligible to be recalled. The only scenario where he could return sooner – one that presented itself with reliever Hector Neris earlier this month – is if he was replacing an injured pitcher. The Phillies don’t have an injured pitcher, but in calling up another starter, they are trying to avoid either Nick Pivetta or Vince Velasquez getting hurt by pitching on three days rest.
The Phillies could have opted to call-up LHP Cole Irvin, who is 9-3 with a 2.69 ERA in 19 starts at Triple-A. However, Suarez was scheduled to start for Lehigh Valley Thursday, a day before Irvin, likely giving him an advantage.
As NBC Sports Philadelphia‘s Corey Seidman noted, the Phillies will have gone 267 games in between starts by a left-handed pitcher when Suarez breaks the streak on Thursday. Joe Giglio of SportsRadio 94 WIP says that Adam Morgan was the most recent left-handed starter, which is rather incredible when you consider that he’s made 78 relief appearances since his last start.
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