2. The Phillies have three aces at the top of their starting rotation.
I have to admit, when this was talked about in spring training, I smirked a little. In 2020, right-hander Zack Wheeler had what many considered a career year after never living up to his ace potential while with the New York Mets. Zach Eflin also made some great strides with a promising 2020 season.
Neither disappointed in their 2021 season debut this weekend. Wheeler went seven innings, giving up only one hit and striking out 10 in a 4-0 win. He also retired each of his last 17 batters faced in order.
Eflin, meanwhile, followed with just as many innings, surrendering just four hits while striking out eight. His only run allowed was a solo home run to former Phillies catcher prospect Travis d’Arnaud, traded more than a decade ago to the Toronto Blue Jays for future Hall of Famer Roy Halladay.
What makes this great is that Aaron Nola had the “worst” outing among Phillies starting pitchers in the series, which won’t happen very often. Nola was not even terrible, either, likewise making just one mistake — allowing a two-run home run to pinch-hitter Pablo Sandoval. But, in this specific scenario, it was a great sign.
There is a lot of potential for both Wheeler and Eflin to turn into great pitchers. Maybe they won’t allow one run combined every start, but it doesn’t mean they can’t be excellent going forward.
Also, Dombrowski should look to lock Eflin up before his price gets massive in a couple of years. It would be great to keep this trio together long-term.