The Phillies head into Atlanta with a chance to leave with a division lead. They could also be eliminated from postseason contention for the 10th consecutive season upon leaving for Miami.
They have their best starter on the mound Tuesday in Zack Wheeler, but is Joe Girardi willing to move up Ranger Suárez and have him pitch in the series finale?
“We’re in rotation right now,” Girardi said at Truist Park before Tuesday’s game. This means Aaron Nola will start on Wednesday and Kyle Gibson will get the ball Thursday.
Girardi cited the fact that Suárez threw nine innings on Saturday. He’s penciled in to start Friday against the Marlins on an extra day of rest.
The Phillies manager does have a tendency to play it coy when it comes to these types of moves. Girardi is taking it day-by-day, so it wouldn’t necessarily be surprising if he changes his mind in the coming days.
Bohm back up, Brogdon activated
Before the game, the Phillies announced a series of roster moves. Alec Bohm was recalled from Lehigh Valley and Connor Brogdon (right groin strain) was activated. To make room on the roster, the Phillies optioned Luke Williams and Ramón Rosso to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Matt Joyce, who was designated for assignment on Sunday, was granted his release.
Brogdon will slot right back in to a high-leverage role in the ‘pen, while Bohm will be asked to come off the bench as a pinch-hitter or as replacement if Girardi wants to do a double switch. That’s not likely to change this week.
“He’s had a lot of at-bats lately,” Girardi said when asked if Bohm can stay sharp coming off the bench. “I think that’s the hard thing for younger players is to come up, get some time and then they’re not getting a ton of regular time and expect them to stay sharp. So they’re not used to it.”
Bohm flew from Buffalo, where the IronPigs were playing over the weekend, to meet the team in Atlanta.
“I was a little surprised, yeah,” Bohm said. “But I was excited. For sure. It wasn’t exactly the same as [getting called up the first time]. You get that feeling. You hear the phone ring and you see who’s calling and you’re just like ‘Is this what I think it is?’ It’s where you want to be.”
What’s going on with Coonrod?
Sam Coonrod (thumb) hasn’t landed on the injured list, but it’s unclear if he’s available to pitch in Tuesday’s game. His thumb issue is actually an infection on the inside. Girardi said Coonrod is doing better, but he has to check to see if he’s available to go. The 29-year-old hasn’t pitched since Sept. 22.
Let’s run through the scenarios real quick
The Phillies aren’t dead in the water if they lose to Atlanta on Tuesday, but it’s going to be really tough for the Phillies to make the playoffs if they can’t win with Wheeler on the mound.
If the Phillies lose, they’ll fall 3.5 games behind Atlanta in the NL East. Another loss on Wednesday will set up a must-win game on Thursday. If the Phillies get swept, the Braves will win the NL East. If the Phillies win only one game in Atlanta, they’ll have to win out and hope the Braves go 0-4 just to go to a game 163 in Philadelphia for all the marbles.
That’s far from ideal. The Phillies have to win at least two of three to have a chance heading into Miami. A sweep in Atlanta is the best path forward for the Phillies to win the division.
Our own Jonny Heller broke down all the scenarios in an easy-to-read chart you’ve probably seen already:
The Braves have shuffled their rotation to get two regular season starts out of staff ace Charlie Morton. Instead of taking his turn on Wednesday, Morton will throw Tuesday and the left-hander Max Fried will oppose Nola on Wednesday. Ian Anderson will go on seven days rest against Gibson (for now).
FanGraphs gives the Phillies a 13.1% chance to win the division.
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