Phillies: Eflin, Moore, Anderson amid robust spring training

Matt Moore #31 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
Matt Moore #31 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

The Philadelphia Phillies starting rotation is seeming to be a little lopsided so far in 2021 spring training action — but its bottom-half is the one having success, surprisingly outperforming the top-half.

The Phillies starting rotation is surprising so far in spring training.

Through three spring starts, presumed Opening Day starter Aaron Nola has struggled, going 0-2 with a 10.38 ERA and 2.08 WHIP, as well as 15 hits, 10 runs (all earned), two home runs, and three walks allowed spanning 8 2/3 innings. Opposing batters are hitting .395 against the two-time Cy Young Award finalist, striking out just five times.

Fellow right-hander Zack Wheeler, who expected to return as the No. 2 starter in the rotation, has not had a strong spring start as he would have hoped entering his second year in red pinstripes. Through three starters, Wheeler has gone 0-1 with a 6.48 ERA and 1.68 WHIP, while allowing nine hits, six runs (all earned), one home run and five walks across 8 1/3 innings. While Wheeler has struck out an impressive nine batters, his opposition has a combined .310 batting average against him.

Zach Eflin, Matt Moore, and Chase Anderson are all proving that they deserve to start the season in the rotation. While none will jump Nola nor Wheeler, they are significantly outperforming them in the exhibition contests.

Combined, the trio has gone 6-0, allowing just nine hits, five walks, and one earned run (a solo home run) through 21 innings — en route to an impressive 0.43 ERA. The group has also struck out a combined 20 batters.

Eflin — once acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers for franchise hits leader Jimmy Rollins — is preparing for his sixth season, whereas veterans Moore and Anderson are veteran free-agent signees looking to resurrect their career in red pinstripes.

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Moore, in particular, is well on his way to becoming the first southpaw to start a season in the Phillies rotation since 2008 World Series MVP Cole Hamels in 2015.

Nearly two weeks remain until Opening Day. One would hope Nola and Wheeler are just working on their pitching repertoire and will soon turn things around. If they can, in addition to Eflin, Moore, and Anderson possibly carrying over their spring success into the regular season, the 2021 rotation will be a significant upgrade from the previous season.

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