Phillies starting rotation did their job in 2020 season
By Hunter Doyle
The rest of the Phillies rotation was good enough.
Once again, Jake Arrieta went down with an injury. His numbers were pretty bad and there is no excuse for it. However, he wasn’t awful enough to be the reason this team lost when he was out on the mound. The problem is that he imploded versus Atlanta and allowed seven earned runs in 1 1/3 innings. If you take that game out, he would have a 3.77 ERA right now.
Unfortunately, that game did happen and it can’t be taken out of the equation. Outside of that though, he did keep this team in games and the bullpen usually ruined it. He allowed four earned runs or less in eight of his nine starts and three earned runs in six starts. The bottom line is that while he isn’t living up to his contract, he still gave this team a chance to win in the majority of his outings. That’s all you can ask for at this point in his career, especially with his recent injury history.
Zach Eflin made some big strides this year. Although he needs to be more consistent from one start to the next, each of his pitches improved once again. He also fixed some of his mechanics, specifically with his curveball. Unlike last year, he was able to listen to his pitching coach with confidence and receive reliable advice. Eflin also kept this team in games as he never gave up more than four runs in a start this year. He limited the damage even when he didn’t have his best stuff. Once again, he flashed his ceiling with a few outings that were flat out incredible. He’s done this in previous years as well but this year he did it when it was needed the most.
On August 29, the Phillies were in their final series versus the Atlanta Braves and needed a win to tie up the season series. Eflin pitched seven innings allowing just one earned run on four hits and no walks while striking out eight in a 4-1 win. His last two starts of the season were also a sight to behold. In a doubleheader versus the Toronto Blue Jays, who recently clinched a playoff spot, Eflin went the distance in Game 1. He shut out Toronto in seven innings, while allowing just four hits and walking two to go along with nine strikeouts.
Most recently, he went eight innings in a must-win game versus the Washington Nationals with just six hits, one walk, and three earned runs allowed. Not to mention, he struck out nine. He also allowed just one earned run until fatigue set in and he allowed a two-run shot to Juan Soto. Take that out, and Eflin’s season ERA would be down to 3.85. Unless he pitches out of the bullpen this weekend, his season is over. He finished with a 4-2 record, 4.15 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, .267 batting average against, and 70 strikeouts in 56 1/3 innings.
Under pitching coach Bryan Price, Eflin is finally going to have a capable pitching coach for the future who can develop him properly. He’s still just 26-years-old and should continue to make strides, especially in a full season in 2021.