Phillies change rotation to optimize Zack Wheeler over the final weeks of the regular season
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. After winning six straight games, the Philadelphia Phillies have lost two straight against a very bad Miami Marlins team. Luckily for the Phillies, the Braves have also dropped two straight games to the Rockies in Colorado, and the Phillies remain two games back from first place in the National League East standings. They are currently 2.5 games back of the second and final Wild Card spot in the National League.
With one final push remaining, the Phillies announced that they will be switching up their starting rotation, in order to optimize Zack Wheeler’s position over the next few weeks. Wheeler was initially scheduled to pitch today in Miami, but will instead move back a day and get an extra days rest before taking the mound on Monday in the series opener against the Milwaukee Brewers, who are first place in the NL Central.
Moving Wheeler to face the Brewers is the right move. Bullpen games are always a rollercoaster but at least we can position our best pitcher to face the Brewers and Braves at the end of the season. Regardless, the Phillies expect Wheeler to make six more starts before the end of the season. Aaron Nola and Kyle Gibson will be the other two starters for the Phillies in Milwaukee.
Following the three game road series against the Brewers, the Phillies will head home for four games against Colorado, which would leave Suarez, a fifth starter, Wheeler, and Nola to pitch that series. A fifth starter, whether that be Matt Moore or possibly Vincent Velasquez, will be needed six times over the final month of the season.
The most important part of this move is the fact that Zack Wheeler will now be positioned to open up the final series of the season against the Atlanta Braves. Following Wheeler, would be Aaron Nola and Kyle Gibson.
After the final series against the Braves, the Phillies will have to play Miami the last three games of the regular season. When looking at the rotation, Ranger Suarez would be in line to open that series, with Wheeler pitching the final game of the regular season.
Ideally, Wheeler will be able to rest the final game, and be ready to pitch in the playoffs, but given how inconsistent the Phillies have been all season, we’re going to have to take this one game at a time.
Mandatory Credit: Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports