RANGER SUAREZ HAS THE GOLDEN KEY IF PHILS-CARDS NEED A GAME 3!

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.

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