Another Phillies pitcher has bit the dust.
Zach Eflin was placed on the Injured List with back tightness in his mid-back. He was scheduled to pitch against the Dodgers on Saturday night in Los Angeles, but instead that start will be taken by left-hander Cole Irvin. His placement on the 10-day IL is retroactive to May 28.
Eflin has been the team’s best pitcher so far this year and one of the best pitchers in the National League. He is 5-5 with a 3.02 ERA (7th-best in the NL) and a 4.35 FIP, worth 0.9 fWAR so far this year. He’s been especially stingy with free passes, with a 5.1% walk rate that is tied for 9th-lowest among 46 qualified National League starters.
Irvin has made three starts for the Phillies this year and has a 5.60 ERA with a 4.90 FIP. In 7 starts for Lehigh Valley, he’s 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA.
This is a big blow to a Phils’ pitching staff that has seen a rash of injuries to its bullpen. Manager Gabe Kapler was expected to lean more on his starting rotation to go deeper into games, and Eflin’s two complete games this season made him an ideal candidate to give them length.
Now, the Phillies have to hope Cole Irvin can hold down the fort until Eflin returns, or until the Phils make a move to bring in another pitcher from outside the organization.