Phillies Include Rookies Orion Kerkering and Weston Wilson in Wild-Card Roster Against the Marlins
Philadelphia, PA – In a surprising move, the Philadelphia Phillies have added two rookies to their wild-card roster for the opening round of the playoffs against the Miami Marlins. Reliever Orion Kerkering and corner outfielder/infielder Weston Wilson, who were not on the active roster just two weeks ago, have made the cut for the Best-of-3 series starting tonight.
Kerkering, a 22-year-old pitcher, has impressed the Phillies with his performances in three appearances. He has showcased his talent by striking out six batters and allowing no earned runs in three innings of play. Kerkering’s signature slider has been his go-to pitch, generating swinging strikes from hitters on both sides of the plate. Manager Rob Thomson now faces a decision on where to use the young pitcher in high-leverage situations during the wild-card round.
Wilson, 29, enjoyed a standout season in the minor leagues, catching the attention of the Phillies’ management. With 31 home runs and 32 stolen bases in Triple-A Lehigh Valley, Wilson proved himself as an extra right-handed bat. In a short stint with the Phillies, he reached base in 11 of 22 plate appearances over eight games. Wilson’s success is partially attributed to his improved strike zone awareness, which was aided by the Automatic Ball-Strike system in Triple-A.
Wilson’s inclusion in the wild-card roster may prove strategic against a Marlins team heavily reliant on left-handed pitchers. Miami’s Game 1 and Game 2 starters, Jesus Luzardo and Braxton Garrett, are both lefties. Furthermore, four of the Marlins’ key relievers, Tanner Scott, A.J. Puk, Steven Okert, and Andrew Nardi, also throw from the left side. Wilson’s ability to hit lefties well, with a .320/.411/.601 slash line in Triple-A, makes him a valuable asset in matchups against Miami’s southpaws.
There had been speculation that Wilson might even start in left field against the Marlins due to the Phillies’ preference for right-handed bats against left-handed pitchers. However, Cristian Pache is expected to start Game 1 for defensive purposes. Once a non-lefty pitcher takes the mound, Brandon Marsh will likely be subbed in for Wilson.
One surprising omission from the Phillies’ wild-card roster is pitcher Michael Lorenzen. Acquired from the Detroit Tigers at the trade deadline, Lorenzen was intended to be used as a reliever in October. However, the Phillies opted to roster 12 pitchers and 14 position players, leaving Lorenzen off the list. The right-hander had a strong finish to the regular season, pitching four scoreless innings with four strikeouts. Prior to that, he struggled with a 9.23 ERA in six games.
The Phillies’ 26-man wild-card roster against the Marlins includes two catchers, J.T. Realmuto and Garrett Stubbs, six infielders, Bryce Harper, Bryson Stott, Trea Turner, Alec Bohm, Edmundo Sosa, and Weston Wilson, six outfielders, Nick Castellanos, Johan Rojas, Brandon Marsh, Cristian Pache, Jake Cave, and Kyle Schwarber, as well as twelve pitchers, Zack Wheeler, Aaron Nola, Ranger Suarez, Christopher Sanchez, Taijuan Walker, Jose Alvarado, Craig Kimbrel, Seranthony Dominguez, Gregory Soto, Matt Strahm, Jeff Hoffman, and Orion Kerkering.
The Phillies are set to face the Marlins in tonight’s wild-card round, and fans eagerly await the impact of these two rookie additions to their postseason roster.