The Phillies broke their decade-plus postseason drought, then went to St. Louis and swept the Cardinals in the Wild Card round. Now they square off against their divisional rivals in Atlanta in the NLDS. They’ve made a few changes for this series, swapping out right-hander David Robertson for fellow righty Nick Nelson, while subbing in outfielder Dalton Guthrie for infielder Nick Maton.
- Andrew Bellatti
- Connor Brogdon
- Seranthony Dominguez
- Zach Eflin
- Kyle Gibson
- Nick Nelson
- Aaron Nola (Game 3 starter)
- Noah Syndergaard
- Zack Wheeler (Game 2 starter)
The absence of Robertson is the most notable difference from the Wild Card round, as he has been a key component of the club’s bullpen this year. Manager Rob Thomson tells reporters, including Todd Zolecki of MLB.com, that Robertson strained his calf when he jumped in celebration of Harper’s home run in Game 2 this weekend. Robertson has received an injection of platelet-rich plasma in Philadelphia and is still there.
Robertson, 37, missed a good chunk of the past few seasons due to Tommy John surgery. He only threw 6 2/3 innings in 2019 before getting shut down and then missed the entirety of the 2020 season. He returned in 2021 and was able to log 12 innings with the Rays, along with four more in the postseason. He signed with the Cubs here in 2022 and looked like his old self for the first time in a while, getting traded to the Phillies at the deadline. Between the two clubs, he threw 63 2/3 innings this year with a 2.40 ERA, 30.7% strikeout rate and 46.5% ground ball rate. The walks were on the high side at 13.3%, but he still succeeded in high leverage situations, earning 20 saves and three holds.
Starting pitching was a key ingredient for the Phils in the first round, as Wheeler threw 6 1/3 scoreless innings in Game 1 and Nola following up with 6 2/3 scoreless in Game 2. Suárez would have gotten the ball in game three but wasn’t needed, allowing him to start this series. While not as good as Philadelphia’s top two, he still had a very good season. Throwing 155 1/3 innings over 29 starts, he registered a 3.65 ERA despite a subpar 19.5% strikeout rate, thanks to getting grounders on 55.4% of balls in play. The Phillies will need to think about who starts Game 4, as Suárez would be on short rest.