The IronPigs are a little all over the place.
Part of that is the early season caveat attached to their stats, but after two starts Nick Pivetta has a 0.69 ERA, while Jake Thompson’s ERA is caught in a NASA weather balloon.
Nevertheless, one of the IronPigs’ jobs this season was to incubate the Phillies’ future help. That future could be a year or so down the line, or it could be immediately, if one of the starters were to go down with an abrupt and catastrophic injury, forcing countermeasures into action that were only drawn up in case of a ludicrously unfortunate emergency.
Well, as it were, the season of Clay Buchholz, the veteran arm intended to fill space and eat innings in the Phillies rotation, is over. Someone was kind enough to write up his exit interview and walk around City Hall with it this weekend.
After furiously erasing everything on the white board and then kicking it, the Phillies decided to call up 23-year-old Zach Eflin, who is recovering from double knee surgery and has made two starts this year, one in Single A in which he threw five innings and one in Triple A, in which he threw five scoreless innings with no walks, one hit, and six strikeouts. He will make Buchholz’s start on Tuesday.
You remember Eflin from last year, when everyone tried to spell his name “Elfin” for at least two months, and he made a historically bad MLB debut before logging two complete games. He finished the season with a 5.54 ERA in 11 starts, taking his worst licks at the beginning and at the end - the Dodgers sent him home for the season by scoring seven runs in three innings.
It’s been an encouraging couple of frames thrown by Eflin this year, but it probably wasn’t as many as the Phillies imagined before slotting him the into big club’s rotation. Obviously. It’s gonna be what it’s gonna be. And what it could be is bad, because Eflin is being dropped into the screaming madhouse that is a Phillies game against the Mets in 2017, which is to say, if the last three contests against the Metropolitans are any indication, Eflin will either see a painfully slow or extremely, upsettingly fast loss.
In any case, welcome back to the big leagues, Zach Eflin! We’re all passing around the same old bottle of Max Strength Pepto, so just wait a second, it’ll get to you.