Phillies' Pitching Dominance Approaching Historic Levels

Phillies showcase pitching prowess with outstanding performances

by Abdullah Magsi
Phillies' Pitching Dominance Approaching Historic Levels
© Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Philadelphia Phillies have the best mark in the major leagues at 35–14. We all knew that the Phillies were a very good team in baseball at this point, but did we know the Philadelphia Phillies are maybe even more fantastic than we previously thought about? Rob Thomson's group of players on the way to have one of those seasons that have been rare in the area due, for the most part, to what the Philadelphia bullpen has become lately.

Over the past few years, the Philadelphia Phillies have been known to have a potent offense led by Bryce Harper, Kyle Schwarber, and Trea Turner. This is a squad built to hit home runs and score runs in bunches. Flying under the radar is what Philadelphia's elite pitching has been doing, led by the impressive duo of Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola.

That is more correct for the Phillies' starting rotation at the moment: it is a three-headed monster. And, aside from Wheeler and Nola, Ranger Suarez has developed into one of the best No. 3s in baseball—if not the outright best pitcher right now.

In his most recent start, a 5-2 victory over the Texas Rangers, Suárez lasted seven innings. He allowed five hits and an earned run while walking two batters and striking out ten. The Sullivan County product was effective with his usual sinker/off-speed mix that carved up the reigning World Series Champions.

No other starting pitcher is, outside Shota Imanaga in Chicago, dealing with more controlled confidence than what Suarez is at this moment.

Phillies' Pitching Dominance

Now 9-0 with an incredibly low 1.36 ERA in the 10 starts made, Suarez becomes the first Phillies pitcher since Grover Cleveland Alexander in 1913—over a century ago—to start a season 9-0.

This win from Suarez turned out to be so much more; it simply solidified a rotation that is on track to do something no other has ever done and push someone into a playoff and possible Cy Young victory. It's the early stage of two-thirds of a season, and Suarez doesn't seem to hit any kind of wall so far.

He becomes quite a stone-cold killer on the mound, sort of reminiscent of a detective from an old noir film who just seems to have a feel for the strike zone. Meanwhile, Wheeler is 5-3 with a 2.52 ERA, 0.973 WHIP in 10 starts, and is the wagering favorite for the Cy Young.

A 33-year-old right-hander shaping up to be awfully consistent, he's out to earn that page in MLB history. But let's not forget the competition with the deep National League arms: Shota Imanaga, Chris Sale, Yu Darvish, Javier Assad, Reynaldo Lopez.

But the duo leads baseball collectively, with the best combined ERA. If Wheeler and Suarez were to finish 1-2 in Cy Young voting, they would only be the fifth pair of teammates in Major League history to do so. The most recent precedent is Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole that did so in the 2019 American League race while a member of the Houston Astros.

It is something that will evolve through the season, but it would be tough to pitch better right now than the Phillies are. That has translated into results going in favor of Philadelphia with Suarez and Wheeler pitching at the top of their game.