Phillies may have found their closer
The Philadelphia Phillies have been desperate to put an end to their ninth inning struggles. They have 22 blown saves in just 80 games and are now three shy of setting an all-time franchise record, despite half of the season still remaining to be played. However, they may have found a solution to their woes.
25-year-old Ranger Suarez earned the first save of his career on Saturday evening when the Phillies defeated the San Diego Padres 4-2 at Citizens Bank Park. Most Philadelphia fans were expecting the worst when the ninth inning came along, but Suarez managed to get the job done and help his team earn a crucial victory.
“Just like any other night,” Suárez said through the team’s interpreter when asked how he felt going out there, via MLB.com. “I just went out there, got on the mound, and I knew that I had to just take care of what I usually do, which is take care of my command and throw the ball in the strike zone.”
The cool and calm performance didn’t go unnoticed by the team’s manager Joe Girardi either as he was full of praise for the young Venezuelan following the win.
“He’s got such a slow heartbeat,” Girardi told reporters, via MLB.com. “I’ve brought him in some pretty tough situations this year with runners on, and he’s done a really good job. But Ranger is not a guy that’s going to reach for extra. That’s the thing. He’s going to just make pitches, and that’s what he did again tonight.”
Suarez is 4-2 with a 0.85 ERA in 19 appearances so far this season with the Phillies. He couldn’t help but laugh when he was told about Girardi’s comments about his slow heartbeat.
“It’s not really that I have a slow heartbeat,” he said. “It’s that I honestly trust in myself. I have plenty of confidence in all my pitches, my talent and what I can do to help this team.”
His teammates are quickly starting to trust in him as well, taking notice of how good he has been when called upon.
“That’s what Ranger does, man,” Phillies pitcher Zach Eflin enthused. “He comes into the game, and he doesn’t give a crap who’s up or what team he’s facing. He just goes right after guys. He pitches inside, and he has three plus-pitches that he can throw in any count. Ranger is one of those guys that you love watching pitch because it’s natural, it’s passionate and he gets the job done.”
Even the team’s superstar Bryce Harper couldn’t help but praise the youngster.
“Every time Ranger goes out there, I think we have all the faith that he’s going to get the job done and get the inning over as quickly as possible,” said Harper.
Suarez originally signed with Philadelphia as an international free agent in 2012, but didn’t make his MLB debut until July 24, 2018. The club is being rewarded now with their patience as Suarez is proving himself to be the real deal.