It’s been an emotionally exhausting weekend in South Philly. Shane Victorino was honored last night when he retired as a Phillie. Tonight, prior to the game, Roy Halladay went onto the Wall of Fame. When Doc’s plaque was unveiled by Carlos Ruiz, he blessed it with a kiss. Also, Jamie Moyer has a pony tail.
With the 2008 alumni in town, the Phillies heating up as they enter a full-on pennant race, and emotions running high, the vibe for which Roy Halladay was known when he would take the mound at Citizens Bank Park could be felt in the form of Zach Eflin, putting down Fish at a season-high pace.
From the start of things this evening, the Phillies didn’t take their foot off the gas, as the offense was not contained to a single at-bat, outburst, or inning: Nick Williams continued the recent trend of converting base runners into run-scorers with a three-run blast in the first. Asdrubal Cabrera hit his first home run as a Phillie, a two-run shot, in the third. Justin Bour’s weekend slugfest continued for Miami with a solo shot in the fifth, but Carlos Santana counterbalanced it with a dinger in the bottom of the inning. Cesar Hernandez punched one out with Roman Quinn on base in the sixth.
By this point, it was 8-1, and, with the lead installed, word of Zach Eflin’s stellar start was spreading. Actually, word of the Phillies’ rotation in general was spreading.
It is the Marlins, but since the Phillies declined to improve their rotation and trust the young kids, Pivetta, Velasquez, and Eflin 19.1 IP 8 H 3 ER 1 BB 19 K— Matt Winkelman (@Matt_Winkelman) August 5, 2018
Eflin needed very few baseballs to keep the Marlins off the bases, not even allowing more than a single three-ball count by the end of the sixth. Going off some advice from Jake Arrieta, according to the broadcast—”Attack the hitters”—Eflin recovered from the struggles that have plagued in his last three starts and submitted a dominant performance full of swings and misses that gave the Phillies a chance for a series sweep tomorrow with Aaron Nola on the mound.
By the end of the eighth, Eflin was in danger of logging the Phillies’ first complete game of the season. He had allowed another home run to Miguel Rojas that had made it 8-3, but his start was still only 85 pitches old.
Nevertheless, Gabe Kapler pulled him for the ninth, dropped Adam Morgan in there, and watched him end the game with a 96 m.p.h. fastball. It was the Phillies’ fourth straight win, giving them a 1.5 game lead over the Braves, who were defeated this evening by the Mets (The Nationals split a doubleheader with the Reds). It was also the Phillies’ fastest-played game of the season at two hours and twenty minutes. You can thank Eflin for that, pitching with pinpoint efficiency after a ceremony honoring a man who knew how to move things along.