After knocking out the Miami Marlins in the NL Wild Card Series, the Philadelphia Phillies are moving on to the NL Division Series. That kicks off this weekend with Game 1 on Saturday against the Braves in Atlanta -- owners of MLB's best record during the regular season.
On Friday afternoon, Phillies manager Rob Thomson revealed the team's starting pitcher for Game 1.
Phillies Starting Pitcher NLDS Game 1
Not surprisingly, Ranger Suarez will get the ball for Philadelphia on Saturday.
Co-aces Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola were both unavailable for Game 1 after starting the Wild Card games this week. Wheeler will likely be able to start Game 2 on Monday, while Nola should get the call for Game 3 on Wednesday.
With both Wheeler and Nola off the table, Suarez was Thomson's best remaining option to start Game 1. The 28-year-old southpaw went 4-6 with a 4.18 ERA, a 1.42 WHIP and an 8.6 K/9 in 22 starts (125 innings) this season.
While his overall numbers weren't great, Suarez has had success against Atlanta in the past. In his lone start against the Braves during the regular season, he tossed 6 innings of 1-run ball and racked up 7 strikeouts. He also fared well against Atlanta during last year's NLDS, allowing just 1 run over 3 1/3 innings while striking out 5.
It is somewhat interesting that Thomson went with Suarez over Taijuan Walker or Christopher Sanchez. Walker is a more experienced veteran and former All-Star with similar numbers to Suarez, whereas Sanchez (who is also a lefty) posted significantly better numbers during the regular season with a 3.44 ERA and a 6.0 K/BB ratio. Sanchez is less experienced, however, and perhaps Thomson trusts Suarez based on his recent track record against the Braves.
Atlanta's starting pitcher for Game 1 has yet to be announced, but it's expected to be Spencer Strider. First pitch is scheduled for 6:07 p.m. ET and the game will air on TBS.
Want to back the Phillies in Game 1? Make sure to check out DraftKings Sportsbook. DK is handing out $200 in bonus bets to new users who sign up through the link below and place a first wager of just $5. Best of all, the credits are instant, so you can upgrade your bankroll in the blink of an eye! This deal won't last long, though, so you better act fast before it's gone!
More Phillies stories: