'It's incredible': Suárez's historic start hits new level in 10-K gem

May 22nd, 2024

PHILADELPHIA -- Forget unbeatable, is borderline untouchable right now.

The Phillies left-hander continued his undefeated run to begin the season with another dominant outing in the club's 5-2 win over the Rangers on Tuesday night at Citizens Bank Park. Suárez tossed seven innings of one-run ball to improve to 9-0 with a 1.36 ERA through 10 starts.

To put that in perspective, Suárez is the first pitcher to start 9-0 with a sub-1.50 ERA through 10 games since Hall of Famer Juan Marichal in 1966. The only other AL/NL pitchers to do so since earned runs became official in 1912 are Hall of Famer Walter Johnson and Cy Falkenberg -- both in 1913.

“It's kind of mind-boggling, you know?” Phillies manager Rob Thomson said. “The historic run that he's been on, he's just been pitching great. Knock on wood, he keeps it going.”

Even putting aside Suárez’s undefeated record, his 1.36 ERA is the third lowest in franchise history through 10 starts. Only Grover Alexander -- another Hall of Famer -- posted a lower mark through 10 outings, doing so in both 1916 (1.24) and 1915 (1.31).

Suárez’s latest gem included tying a career high with 10 strikeouts against the reigning World Series champion Rangers. He allowed five hits and two walks.

Though Suárez is known for his unflappable demeanor, even he must be in awe of some of these names he’s being mentioned alongside … right?

“No, I just try to go and do the best work that I can,” Suárez said via a team interpreter. “Try to keep the game close so the team can try to go out and get a win. That's the most important thing.”

Suárez may not bask in the historical significance, but that doesn’t mean his teammates -- and the opposition -- aren’t taking notice.

"It's incredible,” said , who went 2-for-3 with a double, a homer and a walk. “He goes out there every fifth day and he does his job, man. He knows what it takes to win games. He knows how to pitch."

Added Rangers four-time World Series-champion manager Bruce Bochy: “We have our hitters’ meetings and we cover everything -- his pitches, what to look for in certain areas, things like that. I mean, you cover all that so they're prepared, but he's just one of the best left-handers in the game right now with the way he's throwing the ball.”

Not that Suárez has needed much run support this year, but Harper certainly did his part to protect Suárez’s winning streak. With the game tied at 1-1 in the fourth, the two-time MVP doubled before scoring the go-ahead run on an Alec Bohm single. Harper then added what proved to be the game-winning run with a no-doubt homer to straightaway center -- one day after he also knocked a “promposal” out of the park for a local high school student.

Suárez took a no-decision in his first start of the season against the Braves. He's since won nine consecutive starts. The last Phillies pitcher to win nine straight starts at any point in a season: Earl Moore in 1910.

“He's kind of old school in that he's not going to light up the radar gun,” Thomson said. “But he's going to command the baseball, he's going to work fast, he's going to change speeds -- it's just really fun for me to watch.”

Now, toss in the fact that Suárez has allowed only seven earned runs over 61 innings in those nine outings and he finds himself in rare territory for any point in a season. The only other pitchers in AL/NL history to win nine straight games while giving up seven earned runs or fewer:

• Blake Snell (2018)
• Johan Santana (2004)
• Cal Eldred (1992)
• Gaylord Perry (1974)
• Steve Blass (1968)
• Bob Gibson (1968)
• Warren Spahn (1961)
• Hoyt Wilhelm (1959)

That list of eight pitchers includes four Hall of Famers (Perry, Gibson, Spahn and Wilhelm) and two other two-time Cy Young Award winners (Snell and Santana).

“I enjoy the results that we get, and I enjoy the wins we get as a team,” Suárez said. “But the next day after that, I forget about everything, because I have to focus on my next start.”

With the Phils trailing by a run in Suárez’s last outing, Harper told the dugout, “Let's get him a 'W’” -- and promptly helped key a decisive four-run rally.

On Tuesday, he again helped Suárez remain undefeated.

"As a team, we're thinking about that, right?” Harper said. “Any given night, for a guy to be able to go out there and be 9-0, we want him to get to 10-0 and 11-0 and so forth."