Phillies Mailbag: 2022 NLCS Showdown Against Padres
It is a National League Championship Series edition of the 97.3 Phillies Mailbag. The Phillies are there for the first time since 2010 so there is much to discuss. Tune into The Sports Bash with Mike Gill to hear your questions answered on the air.
Is David Robertson back?
As of the time I am writing this, that question is still up in the air. But we know this: Robertson strained his calm jumping on a Bryce Harper wild card home run. He was left off the NLDS roster (not placed on the IL) sohe can return to the roster this round.
Matt Gelb of The Athletic reported Monday night that Robertson was in San Diego and testing his calf. If he responds well, he could be on the roster. They may not know that until today, to see how he feels the day after throwing.
I think the bigger question will be how the Phillies use Robertson. Like Brad Hand, there is no time for a rehab appearance. The bullpen will be needed on back-to-back days in games three and four, so if he’s there he’s probably pitching.
Who will be the fourth starter?
I think we saw who the fourth starter will be in the NLDS. Noah Syndergaard took the ball in game four, giving the Phillies three innings before turning it over to the bullpen. I can see the Phillies taking a similar approach. However, the rotation questions will come later.
Much will depend on how well Ranger Suarez does in game three. This time the Phillies will have back-to-back games in which they do not have either Zack Wheeler or Aaron Nola. An early exit by Suarez wil make game four that much tougher. The Phillies will need Bailey Falter and Kyle Gibson to give them some innings, most likely.
To me, the biggest rotation question comes if there is a game seven. Thanks yo the lockout, the second off day during the NLCS has been lost. That means the Phillies can pitch Wheeler and Nola before the off day, Suarez and Syndergaad immediately after. Then back to Wheeler for game five in Philadelphia and Nola for game six in San Diego.
A game seven would be short rest for Suarez. Then what? It’s very close to Wheeler and Nola’s starts. We might be looking at a Zach Eflin opener situation. It that could depend on how well Robertson is pitching.
But hopefully the Phillies won’t need to worry about that because they’ve already taken the series.
Will there be any type of payback for Blake Snell, who broke Bryce Harper’s hand?
Yes. I think we will see the Phillies pay Blake Snell back in a major way. It was Snell whose inside fastball broke Harper’s hand. But it won’t be someone getting hit by a pitch for the revenge.
I can see Snell being afraid to throw Harper inside. And with a ball left over the plate Harper drilling it over the fence. The best revenge? Living well.
Lucky for Snell, he won’t have to face the Philadelphia crowd. He’s scheduled for game two and then most likely game six. Both of those games will be played at Petco Park in San Diego. And both will be started by Aaron Nola. Advantage Phillies.
The ultimate payback? Sending the Padres home. The Phillies are capable of that.