By Peter Marx
Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler get the lion’s share of attention when it comes to the Phils chances against the Cards in this weekend’s wild card best-of-3 series.
And that’s as it should be.
Nola and Wheeler are legitimate No. 1’s.
But who comes after them today and tomorrow, and if a game 3 is necessary on Sunday?
Ranger Suárez will get the ball.
He was spotty in his first 16 starts of the season, posting a 4.07 ERA and allowing 86 hits in 84 innings.
But in the 13 subsequent starts, he posted a 3.15 ERA, allowed 63 hits and struck out 61 in 71 1/3 innings.
(Those numbers include Tuesday’s start against Houston in which Suárez allowed six runs in three innings a day after Philadelphia punched its ticket to the playoffs.)
Opposing batters are hitting just .219 against his sinker and .240 against his changeup. Suárez logged a 1.36 ERA in 106 innings last season and is capable of shutting down a lineup. I can’t see the Phillies advancing in any round unless Wheeler, Nola and/or Suárez pitch at their best.