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Phillies Notebook: All signs good for Ranger Suarez to make next start

PHILADELPHIA — All indications are that Ranger Suarez will make his next scheduled start Saturday in London, manager Rob Thomson said.

Suarez left his last start in the second inning after being hit in the left hand by a comebacker. X-rays were negative, swelling subsided and the contusion is on track to heal for the National League ERA leader.

“I think so,” Thomson offered. “Looks like it.”

Suarez threw catch on flat ground Wednesday. He’ll probably do a touch-and-feel session Friday in London.

• • •

Over three games against a team running away from the National League Central in the way the Phillies are running away from the NL East, the Phillies allowed just two runs and swept the Brewers. While it’s the eighth sweep of the season, this one carries just a tad more significance.

“It was just a great series, from the pitching side and the defensive side,” Thomson said after a 2-0 win. “We played great defense the whole series. You’ve got to win games like that.”

Aaron Nola pitched seven shutout innings, giving way to Jeff Hoffman and Jose Alvarado for a scoreless inning each, the latter Alvarado’s 11th save. Each team had just three hits, the decisive blow from Nick Castellanos for the second straight day, this time a two-run homer in the fifth.

With that, the Phillies are 25 games above .500.

“Coming from someone that has been on a lot of bad teams, I can definitely appreciate it,” Castellanos said. “Winning games is so much fun, honestly. It solves every problem in an organization. There’s no doubt about that. But the realist in me knows that there’s so much baseball left.”

More important, perhaps, are three wins with the offense accounting for just seven runs against a deep Brewers staff. The Phillies won 3-1 on Monday and 2-1 in extras Tuesday.

“Anytime that we win a game, it’s going to feel good,” Castellanos said. “But especially against a first-place team, in the fashion that we did, of course. I think it just speaks volumes to our team as a whole.”

• • •

J.T. Realmuto got an unplanned day off after a bruising Tuesday evening. The catcher was, “sore all over,” Thomson said, understating an outing of knocks that included a ball to the groin.

Garrett Stubbs started, and reserve Weston Wilson mostly warmed up Nola between innings. Thomson prefers to make Realmuto’s off days as complete as possible.

“I just needed to give him a day off,” Thomson said, “and that’ll give him three and he’ll be fine for the weekend.”

Stubbs walked twice and scored on Castellanos’ homer.

Among other injured Phillies, Brandon Marsh (hamstring) jogged and did light field work. Kody Clemens (back spasms) was feeling better, Thomson said.

• • •

Thomson personally and his team at-large are excited for the chance to go to London for two games against the New York Mets.

“I think they are, which is a good thing,” Thomson said. “There might be some teams out there that the guys don’t really care about making the trip. But I think our guys are excited.”

The team departs straight from the stadium for a redeye across the pond, arriving Thursday morning for an off day.

Thomson, who has more than a casual interest in the history of World War II, is meeting family and hoping to get a day of sightseeing.

Friday brings a workout at London Stadium, built to host athletics at the 2012 Olympics and home of the English Premier League’s West Ham United, among other festivities.

The Phillies added a three-man taxi squad for the trip in catcher Rafael Marchan, infielder Darick Hall and pitcher Nick Nelson.

Thomson admitted he is worried about making sure players get adequate rest to stay healthy.

The more pressing matter is three days off around the trip. He’s working with starting pitchers — Zack Wheeler in particular, who starts the stateside return in Boston on Tuesday — to develop a routine to stay sharp. Thomson is also wary about having relievers not used in London go six or seven days between outings.

• • •

For the third straight day in his return to Philadelphia, Rhys Hoskins was greeted with a rousing ovation when he stepped into the batter’s box for the first time. The fact that he faced Nola, the two longest-tenured Phillies on last year’s team, was an unusual moment that both competitors relished.

Nola struck out Hoskins in the second inning. He bounced out to third to lead off the fifth, then skied a pop up into shallow left that Edmundo Sosa flagged down as the final out of the seventh with a man on.

“It was pretty cool,” Nola said. “He gassed me toward the end there. I know he never gives at bats away. He fights till the last pitch. It was fun, especially in a situation like that, a big spot in the game, it was pretty cool to face him.”

That was Nola’s last batter, exiting at 93 pitches. Hoskins ended the game in the on-deck circle when Alvarado fanned Willy Adames.

Source: Berkshire mont

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