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Ranger Suárez: The Phillies’ Unsung Reliever

A Lefty pitcher approaches from the Phillies bullpen, a rare sighting in South Philadelphia, but this benevolent southpaw is Ranger Suárez. Ranger Suárez had an amazing outing of three scoreless innings which from a Phillies reliever is a miracle. Currently, Suárez is scoreless in 2021 having pitched multiple innings at a time. 


The Venezuelan-born southpaw made his major league debut in 2018 where he started three games and ended the season with a 1-1 record, 5.40 ERA, and a 1.80 WHIP. In 2019, Suárez, went 6-1 with a 3.14 ERA, and 1.31 WHIP in 37 games in relief. 


He was relegated to the bullpen and has flourished in this long relief role but could he be switched back to the starting rotation?


Suárez had a similar start to his career as did highly-touted prospect Spencer Howard. Howard’s first year included a 1-2, 5.92 ERA, and 1.64 WHIP. Nevertheless, both had rough first years but Suárez got moved to the bullpen while Howard is still being thrust into the starting role. Granted Suárez has done well in the long relief role, but he could start a few games or become a sixth starter. 


Ranger Suárez needs to be given starting opportunities or continue a shared pitching strategy with Howard. If Howard cannot find consistency and endurance past 2-3 innings he will never be able to be the premier starter the Phillies need him to be and Phans want him to be. Ranger Suárez took over in the middle of the third inning for Howard in yesterday’s game and pitched three scoreless innings indicating he has more endurance. It would be a shame to see Howard’s talents relegated to the Phillies bullpen, but with his velocity that might be where he belongs unless he can show he can apply his Triple-A stats to the MLB. 


In 2021, through 10 games Suárez has pitched 0.00 ERA, 0.69 WHIP, through 14.1 IP. During a year where Phillies relievers and starters have struggled mightily, it is reassuring to see Suárez lockdown 1+ innings when needed. Regardless of being a starter or a long-reliever, Suárez is going to play a significant role for the Phillies this season given the lack of production by Brandon Kintzler and Archie Bradley


The Phillies bullpen needs to bring up some of their veterans and younger prospects to replace some of their lackluster pitchers, such as Neftali Feliz. This was mentioned last week. As for the starting rotation, Nola and Eflin have struggled through May and it seems that Zack Wheeler is the only starter who can pitch past the fifth inning. The Phillies season is going to be dictated on the performance they have from now till the trade deadline, which if it is not above .500 and at least close to first place then this is going to be another failed experiment by the Phillies front office.


The need for clutch play and fundamentally making plays is going to be the key for the Phillies going forward. In the first few innings alone the Phillies made three errors! The poor fundamentals need to stop. It is time to get going instead of revving the engine. This team has so much potential and it is getting wasted on poor performances all around. 

Thankfully, players like Ranger Suárez are doing their part when given a chance in The Show to display how hard these professional athletes work. Ranger Suárez has the potential to keep a permanent spot in the bullpen and take the baton from Spencer Howard in his starts. However, Suárez has the potential to start his own games if need be and Phillies skipper Joe Girardi should keep that in mind. In conclusion, Thank You, Ranger Suárez! Keep up the stellar work. 


Photo: Yong Kim/The Philadelphia Inquirer

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