Phillies on the mend: Zach Eflin, Seranthony Domínguez, and Zack Wheeler
The Philadelphia Phillies had a scary stretch last weekend — losing for the sixth time in seven games — but things seemed to have turned around.
With consecutive wins against the Washington Nationals, the Wild Card-hopeful team enters Sunday with a large lead in the Wild Card standings — five games ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers in the loss column.
The positive news keeps coming, as the Phillies recently shared promising injury updates on right-handed pitchers Zach Eflin (knee), Seranthony Domínguez (triceps), and Zack Wheeler (forearm).
Before Sunday’s series finale, the Phillies reinstated Domínguez from the 15-day injured list and optioned right-hander Vinny Nittoli to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Eflin, 28, will be activated from the injured list on Tuesday as the Phillies begin a six-game road trip against the Miami Marlins and Atlanta Braves.
Meanwhile, Wheeler threw well off the mound on Saturday, and will follow up with a bullpen session early this week. MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reports that the 2021 Cy Young finalist will follow with one more session, before his potential reinstatement to the active roster after their upcoming road trip.
Domínguez has been a valuable asset to the Phillies bullpen this season, with him posting a 1.64 ERA, 0.909 WHIP, and 54-14 strikeouts-to-walks ratio spanning 46 appearances and 14 games finished. The right-hander has also successfully recorded a save in nine of his 10 opportunities.
Eflin has not appeared in a game since late June, and the Phillies have found a way to fill his void in the starting rotation since — with Bailey Falter especially stepping up. Eflin will assume a bullpen role for the remainder of the season. Still, his presence would be an upgrade over other arms interim manager Rob Thomson has turned to in recent weeks.
The Phillies will need a healthy Wheeler to complement Aaron Nola and others in the rotation, if the club wants to make strides in the three-game Wild Card series and potentially beyond. The fact that they are playing things safe with him is only a positive sign that he will be close to 100 percent for Red October.