Phillies Nuggets: Zack Wheeler likely to have longer leash in Game 2

Hace 9 meses

Phillies Nuggets: Zack Wheeler likely to have longer leash in Game 2

Read - Phillies Nuggets: Zack Wheeler likely to have longer leash in Game 2 - and more Phillies news and rumors on PhilliesNation.com.

Read - Phillies Nuggets: Zack Wheeler likely to have longer leash in Game 2 - and more Phillies news and rumors on PhilliesNation.com.

Zack Wheeler will take the ball for the Phillies in Game 2 of the NLDS. (Peter Joneleit/Icon Sportswire)

ATLANTA — The Philadelphia Phillies were off Sunday, and will be off again Tuesday for a travel day. But don’t expect manager Rob Thomson to be as aggressive in his management of the bullpen in Game 2 as he was in Game 1.

Thomson said Monday afternoon that Wheeler will likely have a longer leash in Game 2 than Ranger Suárez did in Game 1, when he was taken out after allowing just one hit over 3 2/3 innings pitched.

“Yeah, I think so. This is our horse, really, for one thing,” Thomson said of Wheeler. “And it’s a little bit different situation in that in the first game, you had two games in four days, and now we have potentially three games in four days. So I’d like to get some length out of him tonight.”

That doesn’t necessarily mean that Wheeler will throw a complete game Monday, but perhaps somewhere between six and seven innings — he was excellent against the Miami Marlins in 6 2/3 innings pitched in NLDS Game 1 — is a realistic target.

How Rob Thomson’s handling of Ranger Suárez set the tone for all-time bullpen performance

As for Suárez, he seemed to be caught off guard and disappointed that he was given such a short leash, despite what was largely a dominant outing in Game 1. Thomson believes that while the 28-year-old was initially frustrated, he came to understand why the decision to pull him was made.

“So I talked to him in the dugout after he came out, and then I talked to him again as we came through the line where everybody congratulates each other,” Thomson said. “And I think after awhile, he understood what was going on.”

Jeff Hoffman, who relieved Suárez Saturday, admitted Monday that the bullpen was aware that they could be asked to enter the contest early in Game 1. Was there any thought from Thomson and the coaching staff to inform Suárez pregame of the plan?

“Well, we had discussed, [pitching coach] Caleb [Cotham] and I, whether we’d talk to him before the game and tell him just to empty the tank early because we’ve got all this time and we’ve got all these relievers, or just to let him go out and be Ranger Suárez and just pitch your game as if he’s going to get 100 pitches,” Thomson said. “And we decided not to say anything to him.

“He was probably the only guy on the team that didn’t know that there was a chance he was coming out early,” Thomson continued. “But I think it maybe helped him that we didn’t tell him.”

What will be interesting to see is if the strategy of leaving Suárez in the dark, to some degree, can only work once. If he’s on the mound for Game 4 of the NLDS or Game 1 of the NLCS, will the Phillies feel like they have to inform him of the plan this time around? And if they don’t tip him off one way or another, will Suárez have it in the back of his mind that any pitch he throws — even if he holds the opponent hitless for the first three innings — could be his last? That’s probably a bridge that the Phillies and Suárez will have to cross at some point soon.


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