It doesn’t have to be difficult. Sometimes, a baseball team can receive a good outing from their starting pitcher, a big home run from the offense, and actual shutdown innings from the bullpen. It doesn’t happen for the Phillies all that often, but it happened on Saturday afternoon, as they defeated the Braves 4-1 for their fifth straight win.
Zach Eflin was on the mound, and he turned in his best start of the season. He struck out eight Braves in his seven innings, and the lone blemish against him was a solo home run by Johan Carmago.
What an effort from Zach Eflin today — it’s a shame the rain cut it short.— Alex Carr (@AlexCarrMLB) August 29, 2020
He was dialed in, had his stuff breaking every which way, and kept every single Braves hitter off balance.
He’s been an excellent back-of-the-rotation option.
His final line:
7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 8 K
As it seems they do every game, the Phillies got off to an early lead. Bryce Harper drove in a first inning run with a sacrifice fly, and then Rhys Hoskins gave the team some breathing room in the fifth.
Of course, when it comes to Phillies pitching, there is no such thing as too much breathing room. However, with Eflin dealing, a four-run lead turned out to be plenty. He looked poised to pitch all nine, but a rain delay put an end to that.
This was the second time this week that a starter had his outing cut short by rain, but the bullpen thankfully didn’t provide too much drama this time around. Hector Neris pitched a clean eighth, and despite allowing a couple of runners, Brandon Workman kept the Braves off the board in the ninth.
The Phillies will try for the sweep tomorrow night on ESPN’s national broadcast. If they win, they’ll not only have closed within a game of the first place Braves, but they’ll have their first six-game winning streak in over two years:
The Phillies' five-game winning streak is their longest since July 31 to Aug. 5, 2018 (also 5 straight). Six of the 15 players who appeared in the final game of that streak are still on the Phillies' active roster.— Meghan Montemurro (@M_Montemurro) August 29, 2020