Velez rested Suarez to avoid anything serious due to left hand injury – NBC Sports Philadelphia

For the dark-skinned Scouts, whose skins are tanned from long hours spent under the harsh sun, this is a typical warning, delivered almost by heart after thousands of recitations.

“If we stay healthy…” They then mentally tap their knuckles on the wood.

And not just scouts. It’s the hope and anxiety of every baseball player working for every competitor, and it’s one of the few things that old school and new school are completely compatible with.

So, when left fielder Ranger Suarez — by all accounts, the Phillies’ best player through the first two months of the season and arguably all of baseball — had to pull the plug in his start against the Cardinals on Saturday night after a streak of at-bats. St. Louis left fielder Alec Burleson hit him on the base of his right thumb, and having the best record in baseball suddenly seemed a little more tenuous.

Suarez, who entered the evening 9-1 with a 1.75 earned run average, retired the first five batters he faced before Burleson ripped a 106.1 mph home run into his straightaway. The 28-year-old knocked the ball down and threw the runner out at first, but he noticeably grimaced as he walked off the field.

“You try to make sure he’s good and then you win the game,” first baseman Bryce Harper said when asked about the mood in the dugout after Suarez was taken away for evaluation. “That’s it. You can’t really think about it too much. Goalie was our horse. He was our guy. But you still have to understand that winning the game and winning a series was big for us.”

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The Phillies won 6-1 and clinched the series largely because the bullpen came up big again.

But the big story. . .

An X-ray of Suarez’s hand was negative. He may miss the role, but the medical staff does not expect him to be out for much longer than that. The smile on Rob Thompson’s face when he entered the interview room after the match told the story and so did his words.

“We have to wait a few days until the swelling goes down to see if he can catch a baseball to see if he can make his next start,” the manager said. “I feel very lucky right now. Without a doubt. If he can’t make his next start, that’s OK too. So we’ll figure that out and make sure it doesn’t turn into anything else.”

Suarez was jovial, almost dizzy after the match. There is an island in the middle of the clubhouse where players traditionally conduct post-match interviews. Instead of walking to his place, he crawled under the table. When asked to show reporters how swollen his wrist was, he hid it under his shirt.

“It was a difficult match, but as soon as the ball hit me I knew I would be OK,” he said through translator Diego Danilo. “But as soon as the ball hit me, I knew I wasn’t going to continue. Why force it? The season had just started, so there was no reason to try and play in it.

“Obviously I feel lucky, with the speed the drive line has, if it hit another part of my body or a bone, it would definitely be broken. But fortunately, I hit every muscle.”

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Righthander José Ruiz came on to set up the third goal, giving former starter Spencer Turnbull a chance to follow his normal warm-up routine. Then he took on the fourth task. In the end, five relievers filled out the final seven innings allowing just one run on five hits and no walks while striking out 11.

Even as concerns about Suarez persisted, the crowd of 44,648 at Citizens Bank Park had plenty to cheer about. They have now won two in a row against a resurgent Cardinals team that has won five straight series but will now have to try to salvage a win in Sunday night’s finale.

The Phillies have overcome some adversity already this season. They were without shortstop Trea Turner (hamstring injury) for a month and he was hitting .343 when he was placed on the injured list. However, they have hardly missed a beat, largely because Edmundo Sosa is playing some of the best baseball of his big league career.

If Suarez has to miss the start, Thompson has announced that Turnbull will step in. He opened the season in the rotation, while Taijuan Walker (shoulder) was sidelined. In six starts, he went 2-0 with a 1.67 ERA.

He was dominant Saturday night, striking out six in three innings. The only starter he allowed it to get to was by mistake. The issue will be how long it will take for him to fully expand again to the point of being able to delve into games.

“He really picked us up,” Thompson said. “Three innings, fifty pitches. I wasn’t really comfortable sending him back out because he hasn’t really counted pitches in almost three weeks. But if he has to start in the starting lineup for the Rangers, I’m comfortable with him at 80 pitches.”

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It also helps that the Phillies aren’t under pressure to make an immediate decision. With Thursday and Friday off to accommodate travel to London and another open date on Monday after they play two games against the Mets at London Stadium, they can go without filling that spot until June 13 when they play the Red Sox at Fenway Park.

They also have depth in their rotation — Zack Wheeler, Aaron Nola, and Christopher Sanchez — that most teams would envy, as well as the ability to outscore their opponent on any given night.

Harper smashed his 14thy He ran home the second group in right in the seventh, a two-run shot that added an exclamation point to the action.

Because of the Braves’ loss, the Phils increased their lead in the National League East to 7.5 games.

The Phillies remain on track to achieve their unofficial World Series title or bust. Assuming, of course, they stay healthy.

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