Phillies’ Ranger Suarez Has Big Expectations for the Second Half

Ranger Suárez pitched just four innings in an abbreviated 2020. Let me repeat- Ranger Suarez only pitched four innings last season. Four innings.

Four innings that would prove inconsequential as Suárez put himself in the driver’s seat on his way to heir-apparent closer to finish 2021 for the Philadelphia Phillies.

Born in Pie de Cuesta, Venezuela, or ‘Foot of Slope’ in English, Suárez ended the first half of the season by putting his foot down with a seven-out save against the Boston Red Sox. Let’s discuss.

The Phillies Need A Closer and They Never Thought It’d Be Ranger Suarez

Over his last thirteen appearances, Suárez has allowed three earned runs while striking out 24. That’s an ERA of 1.33, K/9 of 10.7, and he’s doing it all with an average fastball of just 92.9. José Antonio Alvarado could take some notes.

Suárez’s WAR of 2.0 ranks third on the team ahead of names like Bryce Harper (1.9), Aaron Nola (1.5), and the hot-hitting Andrew McCutchen (0.9). I don’t need to tell you that Suárez’s 2021 base salary of $570.5K pales compared to the majority of this roster. A problem for another day.

Alas, the aforementioned closer role remains a point of contention for this Phillies bullpen. While initially owned by Hector Neris, six blown saves, including four in June, have left the job up for grabs.

As I’ve discussed, manager Joe Girardi tried out just about everyone, including Alvarado, Archie Bradley, Neftalí Féliz, and Connor Brogdon. One blown save after another, and they all left Philadelphia in a precarious position by the end of June.

Maybe it’s recency bias given a solid showing thus far in July. Still, he sure looked good putting the Boston Red Sox away, the last memory lingering in the minds of Philadelphia nation.

Not only may the Phillies have found their future closer (holding my breath as I say that), but Suárez made history:

Expectations are high for the 25-year-old Venezuelan product, and as the Phils resume action Friday, welcoming the Miami Marlins, all signs point to Suárez as the man for the ninth. However, that remains to be seen given Giradi’s proclaimed Cone of Silence.

Time will tell, but Ranger Suarez has undoubtedly come a long way from the foot of the slope.

Photo by Cody Glenn/Icon Sportswire

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