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Phillies Starting Rotation Dominating to Kick Off 2024

The Philadelphia Phillies starting rotation is dominating early this season, while other areas are not performing as well. Led by strong starts to the season for both Ranger Suárez and Spencer Turnbull, the Phillies have one of the best rotations in baseball. In four starts this season Suárez has a 3-0 record with a 1.73 ERA as well as a 248 ERA+ and 27 strikeouts. This includes a complete game shutout against the Colorado Rockies on April 16. Meanwhile, Turnbull has a 1-0 record with a 1.80 ERA as well as a 241 ERA+ and 16 strikeouts in three starts. Zack Wheeler is also having a good start to the season, but it does not show in the win-loss record due to the lack of run support. In four starts this season, Wheeler has a 0-3 record with a 3.00 ERA as well as a 143 ERA+ and 30 strikeouts.

Aaron Nola and Cristopher Sánchez are also pitching well right now. After a rough first start, Nola has rebounded and has a 2-1 record with a 3.47 ERA as well as a 124 ERA+ and 19 strikeouts. One concern with Nola is in two of his four starts he has allowed multiple home runs. The April 5 start against the Washington Nationals is the lone start this season where he has not served up a long ball. In four starts, Sánchez has a 1-2 record with a 2.53 ERA as well as 25 strikeouts and had a 123 ERA+ heading into his April 17 start. This is the first full season in the rotation and as the fourth starter for Sánchez after entering the rotation midway through last season. 

Phillies Starting Rotation Dominating Early in 2024

As noted by Corey Seidman, the Phillies rotation has an NL-best 2.54 ERA and 1.06 WHIP. Additionally, opposing batters have a .208 average against Phillies starters, which is also an NL best. Overall, the Phillies rotation ranks third in the majors behind the Boston Red Sox and the Kansas City Royals rotations in each category. The Phillies are one of three teams that has a complete game shutout so far this season. Phillies starting pitchers have a major league-leading 117 strikeouts. They have pitched the second-most innings of any starting rotation this season. However, thanks in part to lack of run support and poor bullpen performances, Phillies starting pitchers only have a combined 7-6 record this season.

Upcoming Pitching Decision

It is expected that Taijuan Walker will return from the injured list soon. This means Phillies manager Rob Thomson will have to decide on the role Walker will have. One option is to have Walker in the rotation while Turnbull moves to the long relief role. The other option is to keep Turnbull in the rotation while Walker assumes the long relief role. Neither Walker nor Turnbull have pitched in relief often. Walker has four career relief appearances while Turnbull has one. It is possible that the Phillies option Turnbull to Triple-A Lehigh Valley to have him pitch in their starting rotation. However, he would have to agree to being optioned to Triple-A, potentially complicating going that route.

Even with the strong performances Turnbull has had this season, Walker will probably rejoin the rotation as the fifth starter. This would put Turnbull in the long relief role for the time being. Given the amount of money the Phillies are paying Walker, he will likely be in the starting rotation. This is the second year of a four-year deal with a total value of $72 million he signed before the 2023 season. This is despite the fact that Turnbull probably should remain in the rotation with Walker taking on the long relief role. In 31 starts last season, Walker had a 15-6 record with a 4.38 ERA as well as a 99 ERA+ and 138 strikeouts. Walker did not appear in the postseason last year, in part because of his regular season performance. It will be interesting to see what Thomson decides.


Photo Credit: © Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports


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