Philadelphia Phillies: Zach Eflin quietly becoming team’s ace

(Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) /

Following a complete game shutout over the Kansas City Royals, Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Zach Eflin is establishing his spot as a stud on the staff.

Another day, another dominating outing for Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Zach Eflin. This time, Eflin stifled the bats of the Kansas City Royals this past Saturday night. It was Eflin’s second complete game of the season, all coming in his last three starts.

The outing was also his second career shutout, as Eflin added to his brilliance by only surrendering four hits, striking out seven and, most impressively, walking none. In his last three starts, 25 innings total, Eflin has allowed a total of two earned runs, good for a 0.72 ERA in that stretch.

Thanks to his dominant three-start stretch the last two weeks, Eflin has seen his ERA drop from 4.15 all the way down to 2.47. Eflin’s last three starts have been some of the most impressive outings in recent memory for the Phillies.

The righty’s success has come in two spurts this season. Eflin started the season strong, winning his first two outings. He followed that up by dropping three starts in a row, with the worst coming in a four-inning, six-earned run outing against the Miami Marlins.

In that stretch of three-straight losses, Eflin only looked bad in the Marlins game. The other two games saw Eflin give up two and three earned runs respectively, so outside of that Miami loss, most of Eflin’s losses have come due to bad luck.

Then, of course, after that three-game losing streak, Eflin has just looked purely dominant. He has been the Phillies best pitcher in that stretch, and perhaps the best pitcher in baseball the last 14 days. Eflin’s two complete games are more than any other team in baseball.

Slowly, but surely, Eflin is establishing himself as the ace of the Phillies staff. He was more of an afterthought heading into the season considering Aaron Nola entered the season with Cy Young aspirations and since demoted Nick Pivetta was looked at as a breakout candidate, something Eflin has quickly claimed.

It’s not like Eflin’s success has come out of nowhere though. He has had success earlier in his career, pitching two complete games back in 2016, his rookie season. Eflin has struggled with injuries, but when healthy he has proven to be a top-of-the-rotation arm.

Now that he is finally healthy, Eflin is living up to expectations. While he wasn’t expected to be more than a third or fourth starter this season, it is very nice to see Eflin establish himself as a one or two on the Phillies staff.

Nola is beginning to turn it around, Jerad Eickhoff is benefitting from finally being healthy, and Jake Arrieta is well-established, so with Eflin’s emergence the Phillies staff, that was viewed as a weakness before the season, is quickly becoming the team’s strength.

Next. Philadelphia Phillies Philes Vol 1.7: Celebrating Mother’s Day. dark

It remains to be seen whether or not Eflin’s dominance will continue, but if he can continue to pitch like a top-of-the-rotation arm, then he will serve a key role on a Phillies team looking for its first postseason birth, and a division title, since the 2011 season.