MLB: Phils’ Ranger Suarez pursues bounce-back effort vs. Braves

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Philadelphia left-hander Ranger Suarez will try to recover from his worst start of the season on Saturday when the visiting Phillies meet the Atlanta Braves in the second game of the three-game series.

The Phillies won the opener 8-6 on Friday to square the teams’ season series at 2-2. First-place Philadelphia extended its National League East lead over second-place Atlanta to 10 games, the largest advantage in the majors.

Suarez (10-2, 2.27 ERA) will be opposed by Atlanta rookie right-hander Spencer Schwellenbach (1-4, 5.68).

Suarez was roughed up by the Miami Marlins on Sunday. He received no decision after allowing six runs on 10 hits, two walks and no strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings. It was the first time in 83 career starts that he failed to record a strikeout. Suarez has not registered a win in his past four outings.

“I just think the stuff was just down a little bit,” Philadelphia manager Rob Thomson said. “The command was down a little bit. He’ll get it back. He’s logged a lot of innings. A lot of innings, so he’ll get it back.”

Added Suarez, “I just had a bad game.”

Suarez has made 17 appearances, eight starts, in his career against the Braves, going 2-2 with a 3.23 ERA. He did not receive a decision against Atlanta on March 31, the third game of the season, when he gave up three runs while striking out seven in five innings.

The Braves are 18-12 against left-handed starters.

Schwellenbach will be making his seventh career start, his first against the Phillies. He has been the most effective pitcher the team has used in the No. 5 spot since Spencer Strider sustained an early-season injury.

Schwellenbach has pitched at least five innings in five of his six starts. In his latest outing, on Sunday against the Pittsburgh Pirates, he allowed four runs on five hits, including two homers, and two walks over five innings. He struck out seven.

Atlanta manager Brian Snitker has been impressed by Schwellenbach, who had pitched just two games in Double-A and none in Triple-A before being summoned to the major leagues.

“I didn’t know him from Adam when he came up,” Snitker said. “He’s been very impressive, too, just his wherewithal and feel. I had no idea the stuff was that good. People texted me about him during the year, I saw videos, stuff like that. And then you get him here and you just kind of see the total package, the makeup, feel, all that kind of stuff.”

Schwellenbach will try to slow Philadelphia shortstop Trea Turner, who is enjoying a productive road trip. In four games, Turner is 8-for-18 (.444) with four home runs, seven runs and eight RBIs. He hit two homers against the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday, then repeated the feat on Friday against the Braves.

Atlanta’s offensive bright spot has been third baseman Austin Riley, who was moved back into the No. 3 spot in the lineup on Friday and hit a two-run homer. In his past 20 games, Riley has hit eight of his 11 home runs and collected 17 of his 37 RBIs.

The Braves signed outfielder Eddie Rosario to a minor league contract on Friday. Rosario played three seasons with Atlanta and was the MVP of the NLCS in 2021, when the Braves went on to win the World Series. He signed with Washington as a free agent in the offseason but was released this week after hitting .183 in 67 games.

–Field Level Media

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