The Phillies own Joe Musgrove, and that shouldn’t change on Friday night when the NLCS comes to South Philly for Game 3
The NLCS heads back to Philadelphia for three games this weekend after the Phillies and Padres split in San Diego.
A pivotal Game 3 begins tomorrow night, with Ranger Suarez taking the mound for the Phillies. Suarez pitched Game 1 in Atlanta during the NLDS, which we all know, was a huge win, giving the Phillies a split before heading home to Philly. Sound familiar?
Sure. It’s more than fair to say that Suarez didn’t have his best stuff in Game 1, but he still made pitches and battled through a few jams to earn crucial outs. Suarez ended his postseason debut throwing three and a third, allowing just three hits and one earned run.
Tomorrow, the Padres will send right-hander Joe Musgrove, who was accused of having “shiny ears” by Buck Showalter, hinting at possible foreign substances during the NLWCS.
Watching this situation unfold was one of the dumbest things I have ever witnessed on a baseball diamond, but since it was the Mets and the Padres, it was actually pretty damn funny.
Buck Showalter asks for Joe Musgrove to be investigated for foreign substances
Musgrove has appeared in two games this postseason. The first was against the Mets in the NLWCS and then against the Dodgers in the NLDS, which was the series-clinching game for the Padres. Musgrove went six innings of two-run ball vs. LA and has totaled 13 innings in the playoffs, allowing just two earned runs and seven hits.
His playoffs have been good, but he wasn’t throwing his best stuff toward the end of the regular season.
- April: 2.16 ERA, .217 BAA
- May: 1.64 ERA, .213 BAA
- June: 2.91 ERA, .192 BAA
- July: 4.24 ERA, .221 BAA
- August: 4.24 ERA, .274 BAA
- September: 3.16 ERA, .272 BAA
On paper, the late-season batting averages against Musgrove certainly stand out as a weakness. Hitters have gotten their bat on the ball at a higher rate, and it’s showing.
Joe Musgrove is a slider-dominant pitcher, and he tends to backdoor it down and in on righties and sneak it along the low outside corner on lefties. We know what can happen when you hang pitches, which has been Musgrove’s issue throughout the year. If players are hitting him, it’s mostly because he’s hanging a slider, leaving it right down the heart of the plate.
Joe Musgrove Pitch Usage Breakdown
- Slider 24.4%
- 4-Seam Fastball 24%
- Cutter 19.4%
- Curveball 19.1%
- Sinker 6.8%
- Changeup 6.3%
Musgrove got absolutely rocked in his one start against the Phillies this season, letting up six earned runs in six innings of work while striking out just one. Kyle Schwarber went yard, while JT Realmuto jacked a 3-run homer off Musgrove, all of which, happened in the same inning.
Coincidentally, that game was also the one game that Ranger Suarez faced the Padres this season and pitched extremely well.
Suarez went seven and a third, allowing just two earned runs and striking out three.
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Musgrove’s worst pitches actually come with nobody on base. With Kyle Schwarber and Bryce Harper consistently capitalizing on bases-empty home runs, that’s certainly something to keep an eye on as the NLCS shifts back to Philadelphia tomorrow night.
We’ll worry about the bullpen matchup on Saturday later. Right now, the focus is getting to Joe Musgrove and the San Diego Padres in Game 3. The Phillies will need their bats to come alive in South Philly and if that happens, we could be closing this series out on Sunday with Zack Wheeler on the mound.