Suárez's run isn't just dominant ... it's historic

May 11th, 2024

This story was excerpted from Todd Zolecki's Phillies Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

MIAMI -- is stringing together pitching performances the Phillies have not seen in more than 100 years.

He is unimpressed by it all.

Take the first inning of Friday night’s 8-2 victory over the Marlins in Miami. Suárez struck out Dane Myers and Josh Bell looking on a couple of inside sinkers. They were two perfectly executed pitches that he placed in the same exact spot in the span of three batters. It jumped out to a lot of people, including Phillies manager Rob Thomson.

Suárez? Meh.

“It was my regular fastball,” Suárez said through the team’s interpreter.

Suárez allowed three hits in seven scoreless innings against the Marlins. He is 7-0 with a 1.50 ERA. He is the first Phillies starter to begin a season with a 1.50 ERA or better in eight starts since Hall of Fame right-hander Grover Cleveland Alexander opened the 1916 season with a 1.30 ERA. The Phillies have had only three other starters this century open a season with a sub-2.00 ERA after eight starts: Zack Wheeler this year (1.64 ERA), Roy Halladay in 2010 (1.59) and Brett Myers in 2005 (1.63).

Suárez shrugged when asked about the run he’s on.

“As I said before, this is my job,” he said. “Every time I step on the mound, I just want to go seven, eight, nine innings. That’s every time I go to pitch. I try to go as long as I can every time.”

Suárez is the first Phillies starter to win seven of his first eight games in a season since Steve Carlton in 1981 (7-0, 2.87 ERA).

You might have heard of the only other two Phillies pitchers on that list since 1901: Robin Roberts in 1952 (7-1, 1.88 ERA) and Alexander in both 1915 (7-1, 1.14 ERA) and 1911 (7-1, ERA not tracked).

“His pitchability is as good as it gets,” Marlins manager Skip Schumaker said. “He had the sinker/four-seamer combination working all night. Cutter, slider, curveball combination [at the] top of the zone, bottom of the zone. I thought J.T. [Realmuto] stole a lot of strikes, did a really good job. … That wasn't the reason why we didn't hit. It was Ranger.”

Suárez works fast. He throws strikes. He has the third-highest ground-ball rate in the Majors (59.2%).

“Stud,” Phillies right fielder Nick Castellanos said. “He works so quickly and every single one of his deliveries on every pitch looks exactly the same. I think that gives hitters a real hard time because they don’t know what’s coming at them until it’s halfway to home plate. [The called third strikes] tells me that he’s deceptive. It tells me that hitters really can’t look for one thing in one spot. The ball is just on you before you have to make a decision.”

It could get boring for an outfielder when Suárez pitches, because so few balls come his way.

“Not really, because he works fast,” Castellanos said. “He gets a lot of ground balls; we look up and it’s the sixth inning.”