Franchise-record 7 All-Stars for Phillies with 4 pitchers selected – NBC Sports Philadelphia

ATLANTA — Four Phillies pitchers join their three starting position players in Arlington, Texas, for a franchise-record seven All-Stars.

Zack Wheeler, Ranger Suarez, Jeff Hoffman and Matt Strahm were all selected via a player ballot and the commissioner’s office to represent the National League in the All-Star Game on July 16.

Wheeler will likely be replaced as he will be in the starting line-up on Tuesday and Sunday, the last game before the break.

The other three join Bryce Harper, Trea Turner and Alec Bohm for the Midsummer Classic.

“I’m really proud of this group,” manager Rob Thomson said. “The front office has put together a really good team. I’m proud of the seven guys and I told them if they were going to field the guys that I think deserve to come from our club, they should field a 40-man team for the All-Star Game. That’s the most All-Stars in Phillies history in 94 All-Star Games. That says something.”

The Phillies had six pitchers of merit: the four who made it, Aaron Nola and Cristopher Sanchez. Suarez, Wheeler and Sanchez rank first, third and fifth in the NL in ERA. Nola is 10-4 with a 3.48 ERA, tied for third in the majors in wins.

Hoffman has made a lot of money over the past two seasons by developing into one of the most reliable right-handed relievers in baseball after turning 30 with his fifth different organization. He has eight saves and a 1.21 ERA with 47 strikeouts and eight walks in 37⅓ innings. Hoffman’s ERA in 92 appearances as a Philly is 1.91. He’s their only significant free agent after the season, and you’d think bringing him back would be a priority, even if it could cost $11-12 million per year.

During a pregame meeting chaired by Thomson, the Phillies found out which of their players made the All-Star team.

“I was shaking like crazy,” Hoffman said. “It took me a while to calm down. I called my wife, everyone is really excited that we can cancel our All-Star plans and hang out and play baseball instead.

“You don’t know how often these things happen. That’s why I try to be in the moment as much as possible, enjoy it. I’m glad all four of my kids and my wife are there and can enjoy it as a family.”

It’s the first All-Star selection for Suarez, Hoffman and Strahm. It’s the second for Wheeler, who last made the National League outing in the 2021 ASG.

“It’s pretty cool to see guys get their first,” Wheeler said. “Hoff, he’s had a pretty cool journey, Strahm’s been working hard and getting better, and Ranger’s just been trying his best. It’s cool to see all those guys get better as they go.”

Strahm has been nearly as dominant as Hoffman, posting a 1.59 ERA, 45 strikeouts and four walks in 34 innings. He has made 36 appearances, 32 without allowing an earned run. The Braves scored twice off him on Opening Day, and he has a 1.07 ERA since then.

He and Hoffman are throwing partners, so neither has to find another pitcher during warmups.

“I might be the only one with my real catching partner,” Hoffman said. “That was awesome, I think they announced Strahmy’s name first and that took more of a load off my shoulders than when I heard my own name. I know how much work and time and effort he puts into it. I’m really glad we get to enjoy it together.”

Like Hoffman, Strahm has had a winding career path, which makes this moment feel even sweeter.

He arrived in Philadelphia for the 2023 season as an effective pitcher when healthy, but he had thrown just 72 total innings from 2020-22. He tore his left patellar tendon in 2017 and from then until his contract with the Phils, he spent every winter strengthening his knee rather than strictly preparing for the upcoming season.

With the Phillies, he reached a whole new level.

“It’s Philly. The energy,” he said. “Winning every day is everything. … It still hasn’t sunk in.”

Suarez’s ERA has risen from 1.83 to 2.58 in his last two starts. When asked Saturday night if he would still be on the team, he joked, “After these few games, I don’t think so.”

He knew he would participate because his previous work had been so spectacular.

“I wasn’t serious about it, I wasn’t worried,” Suarez said. “That’s what you work for during the season and offseason, you work towards achieving this goal.”

Suarez is joined by his wife, 6-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son, who saw him in person for the first time at Citizens Bank Park on Father’s Day weekend. Traveling from Venezuela to the United States is not easy, and they had only seen Ranger-the-big-leaguer on TV from afar.

“It was all part of my plan,” he joked. “They came this year because they knew I was going to make the All-Star team. It’s all going according to plan.

“No, I’m just really happy that they’re here for my first All-Star selection and I’m sure we’ll make the most of it.”

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