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May 22, 2024

Eytan Shander: Ranger Suárez's Cy Young stuff isn't a fluke, nor unexpected

The Phillies have the best trio of starting pitchers in baseball in Ranger Suárez, Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola, Eytan Shander says.

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Ranger-Suarez-Phillies-Rockies-Shutout-4.16.24-MLB Kyle Ross/USA TODAY Sports

Ranger Suárez after his complete game shutout of the Rockies back in April.

The Philadelphia Phillies are going to win the World Series because of Ranger Suárez.

Ok, maybe not just because of Suárez, but what’s happening right now is the blueprint for one of the most dominant 1-2-3 punches in history. This is a scenario where Aaron Nola is now the 3, with Suarez pitching out of his mind.

Or maybe it’s just right where he wants to be, where he’s worked to be and reaping the benefits after another strong performance just Tuesday night against Texas. 

Suárez had 10 strikeouts, improved to 9-0, and gave up just one ER in seven full innings of work. That’s domination and I want more of it. What we are seeing is one of the most amazing elevations and improvements in talent in all of baseball. 

Suárez is as legitimate a Cy Young candidate alongside teammate Zach Wheeler. Suarez is as good as any pitcher in baseball right now, regardless of what one or two advanced metrics are used to sway the jury. The Phillies feed off Suárez and feast off opposing pitchers. Bryce Harper’s Tuesday night blast was just another reinforcement. 

There’s something greater going on with Suárez that’s worthy of mentioning, something that will be a valuable weapon come the playoffs. We’ve seen flashes of this back in 2021, when he had a quiet 5.6 WAR and a 1.36 ERA over 39 appearances – 12 starts. Since moving to a full-time starter, this is an explosion two years in the making. 

I mention this because he was never a “scrub” or backup-type, this isn’t some crowd favorite who sees 3-6 minutes a night in the NBA, hoping he knocks down a three. Suárez was there the past two years, yet the reaction at home when he pitches feels like the entire Rupp arena cheering on some walk-on at Senior Night. 

This is an elevated version of the typical home field advantage yielded by the Phillies. We already encroach on opposing players, management, social media, and mascots. Suárez is already impossible to touch. The two together are ingredients for an explosion. 

We know what post season Nola brings, even more so with Wheeler. We go into those games with added expectations and go nuts when they perform. Seeing another home start go the way of victory for Suarez, and it’s almost like you can feel this massive wave coming by the time the playoffs hit. 

The Phillies now have three pitchers who can beat anyone they face. There’s absolutely zero reason to doubt that these early numbers we’re seeing from Suárez – 2nd in ERA, 1st with a 0.79 WHIP – won’t carry into the playoffs. He’s been there, done that, just like most of the guys around him. 

We need to have a serious discussion with everyone in the baseball world about just how dangerous this team has become with this final piece of the puzzle. But you ask, what about the bullpen?

The pen can still be addressed this year, it can still improve, but there’s far less pressure on overworking them when three guys can go 7+ innings. The Phillies are a juggernaut and so much of this regular season domination turns into hardened expectations of postseason success. It’s hard to ignore the best team in baseball boasting two of the league’s best starting pitchers. 

This is one of those feel great stories. One that ends with us all feeling much better about this team’s accomplishments, from team building to execution on the diamond. By the way, did we mention how much fun this team continues to have playing baseball? That’s another massive piece of this successful team’s DNA. 

This was on full display yet again during another Domination performance. It’s just insane how well this man is pitching, how happy we are for him, and how vital of a weapon he will be the deeper the team ventures. 

Keep reminding the Braves and anyone else who hasn’t muted you about Suárez. He's the not-so-secret weapon. There's not much a team can do when facing these bats with Ranger on the mound, after running the gauntlet of Wheeler and Nola. 

That’s the edge.

The Phillies are such a great story and are full of individual ones like the Ranger Suárez rise to stardom. Here’s to enjoying every single Suárez start as he bullies his way to a Cy Young.

Eytan Shander is a long time radio and TV personality in Philadelphia. In addition to his weekly column, you can currently listen and watch him on Fox29’s Good Day and other sports shows. He’s giving betting advice on OddsShopper. A lifetime Eagles fan, Eytan lives just outside the city with his wife.

Follow Eytan on Twitter: @shandershow