Banged-up Phillies down another member of their starting rotation originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
The Phillies are down another member of their starting rotation. Ranger Suarez was placed on the 15-day injured list Sunday evening with a low back spasm.
The move is retroactive to June 30, making Suarez first eligible to return on July 15 in Miami, the Phillies’ final series prior to the All-Star break.
There had been no indication Suarez was hurt and he went deep into each of his last two starts, pitching 6⅔ innings against the Braves on Wednesday and 7⅓ innings six days prior in San Diego.
In 15 starts, Suarez is 6-5 with a 4.33 ERA and 1.46 WHIP.
The Phillies are also without starting pitcher Zach Eflin, who went on the 15-day IL earlier this week with a right knee bruise. Eflin’s IL assignment was backdated to June 26 so he could first return on July 11 in St. Louis.
The Phils’ depth is being tested in a major way right now. Beyond the loss of their best player, Bryce Harper, to a broken thumb, they’re down 40 percent of their starting rotation without many internal options behind them.
Bailey Falter temporarily took Eflin’s place in the rotation. He faced the Cardinals in Friday’s series opener and allowed three runs over four innings, throwing 66 pitches.
It is unclear who the Phillies will turn to in filling Suarez’ spot. The Phillies are off Monday and Suarez was scheduled to pitch next on Tuesday at home against the Nationals. The off day would allow them to move Aaron Nola up to Tuesday, Falter to Wednesday, Kyle Gibson to Thursday and Zack Wheeler to Friday, all on regular rest. If they go that route, the next time they’d need a starting pitcher would be Saturday in St. Louis, with Eflin potentially returning two days later.
Lefty Cristopher Sanchez would be a realistic option. He’s in the process of being stretched out at Triple A Lehigh Valley, where his last four appearances have been starts. He’s worked up to 58 pitches. Sanchez opened the season with the Phillies and has been optioned back to Triple A twice. A player can be optioned five times within a season.