The Philadelphia Phillies were crushed by the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday afternoon at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
There was great anticipation for Phillies fans this afternoon as yet another young pitching prospect who had been burning up the minor leagues would make his big league debut.
This time it was Zach Eflin, a 22-year old right-hander who had been a first round draft pick of the San Diego Padres in 2012, was dealt to the Dodgers, and came to the Phillies from LA as part of the Jimmy Rollins trade in December 2014.
Eflin went 8-6 at AA Reading last season with a 3.69 ERA, earning himself a shot at AAA Lehigh Valley this year. With the IronPigs over the first two months of the season, Eflin went 5-2 with a 2.90 ERA, allowing just 49 hits over 68.1 innings with a 55/11 K:BB ratio.
When Vincent Velasquez was sent to the disabled list this past week, the call went out to Eflin, thus leading to his debut this afternoon.
To say that the debut was ignominious could be construed as a generous interpretation of the results north of the border, after the Blue Jays trounced the Phillies by an 11-3 score at Rogers Centre.
Eflin was pounded by the experienced Toronto lineup for eight earned runs, nine in total, on nine hits over just 2.2 innings pitched in which he struck out two and walked three batters.
“You’ve got to forget about it,” Eflin said per MLB.com correspondents. “Obviously, I’ll remember it for the rest of my life, but from a pitching standpoint, I’ve got to bounce back. I’ve got to throw quality strikes and get ahead of the hitters.“
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Just 48 of Eflin’s 77 pitches (62%) went for strikes, and many of the pitches that he did get over the plate were up in the zone and straight, and were pounded by the Blue Jays hitters, who actually seemed to salivate when approaching the batter’s box as the outing moved forward.
“This was his Major League debut, and I suppose he was a little nervous,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said per MLB.com’s Alykhan Ravjiani. “He just made a lot of bad pitches. He normally locates a lot better than he did. He was just up in the zone with all his pitches and got hit. Sorry to see his debut turn out that way, but this is a good lineup, and he can’t make mistakes to them.“
Among the Jays’ hits were four home runs and three doubles as the hosts flexed their normal offensive muscles after having been shut out the previous night.
The Phillies and Blue Jays will now bring this four game home-n-home series back to the United States for two games at Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday and Thursday nights.