At the start of the season, the Phillies were feeling confident in the top of their rotation. Aaron Nola had just completed a Cy Young worthy season. Jake Arrieta was set to bounce back, having had a spring training to work. And Nick Pivetta was poised for a break out year, according to some analysts. The question was the bottom of the rotation.
A New Ace in Town?
Zach Eflin has answered the question and is pitching lights out. He is 3-0 in his last three starts with two complete games, one of which was a shut out. Eflin has pitched 25 innings, giving up two runs and 15 hits in the past three games.
Eflin started the season with two wins, allowing one run on 9 hits in 12 innings. He then hit a bit of a slump losing his next three games. During this slide, he gave up 14 runs in 13 innings. Eflin has seemed to have gotten it together. Looking at his career, he had a career-high 11 wins in 24 games last year. Zach is almost halfway to this mark in only 8 games pitched. If he can continue to produce these quality starts, The Phillies may just run away with the division.
Vince Velasquez was reported to be headed to the 10-day injured list. Cole Irvin was to get his first career start on Mother’s Day. You may remember Irvin from how he handled his rough start in Spring Training:
If you forget, Irvin started his outing by throwing 6 consecutive balls. After throwing his first strike, Irvin played into the crowd’s “cheering for him” with a big smile and pumping his fist! It was fantastic!
Irvin got his first career MLB start on Sunday and he took full advantage of it. He pitched 7 innings, allowing only a single run on 5 hits and a walk. The key though is that Irvin never looked out of place or uncomfortable. When he got into trouble, he pitched his way out of it. The Phillies have been right hand pitching dominant this year. Irvin changes that. With the up and down pitching of Velasquez, one has to ask if Irvin puts in another quality start, will Velasquez keep his spot in the rotation?
Nola coming around
As bad as Nola pitched at times this year, it is amazing to see that he hasn’t lost a game. Nola started the season off as every ace should, with a win. He then went into a 4 game slump. During the first three, he pitched 13.1 innings and had a no-decision. Nola gave up 16 runs on 19 hits. In the last game of this stretch, he gave up three runs on 9 hits.
The good news is that in his last three starts he has given up a single earned run in each game. With Nola coming around and the back of the rotation pitching really well, the Phillies again could dominate the east.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Eickoff’s start to his season. The fact is he has been amazing since coming off the injured list. I am not going to dive into Eickoff as PSN’s own Jayln Smoot recently did a story on him and knocked it out of the park! You can read his story below:
The Phils head to Milwaukee to take on the very tough Brewers. This will be a test for the pitching staff as the Brewers have a talented offense, much like the Phillies. Either way, this is going to be a fun series. RING THE BELL!
Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports