Phillies: Solving the Zach Eflin mystery for 2020

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 11: Pitcher Zach Eflin #56 of the Philadelphia Phillies hands the ball to manager Gabe Kapler #19 as he walks off the mound with Rhys Hoskins #17 looking on during the fourth inning against the Atlanta Braves during a game at Citizens Bank Park on September 11, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 11: Pitcher Zach Eflin #56 of the Philadelphia Phillies hands the ball to manager Gabe Kapler #19 as he walks off the mound with Rhys Hoskins #17 looking on during the fourth inning against the Atlanta Braves during a game at Citizens Bank Park on September 11, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /
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Eflin is ready to have his best season with the Phillies. Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images. /

Zach Eflin’s 2019:

Making the Phillies rotation, Zach Eflin has climbed a huge mountain to achieve MLB success, but the top is extremely slippery. And, unfortunately, many fans are vaguely aware of the hard work, dedication, skill and luck it takes. Hopefully, comparing the nine other candidates to Eflin will shed some light on it.

From April through June, Eflin went 7-7 with a 3.34 ERA for 97 innings. And the “two good starts out of three” pattern was totally consistent: He had two solid performances and a clunker in literally every three starts. Obviously, his coach wanted to up his pattern to three out of four: 75-80 percent is management’s expectation.

The rookie pitching coach had success with other moundsmen throwing high fastballs, but this changing-eye-level approach failed Eflin miserably: He went 0-4 with a 12.64 ERA. Landing in the pen, he had four opportunities and produced a 1.59 ERA for 5 2/3 innings before rejoining the five-man staff.

The righty finished the 162 with a 3-2 mark and a 3.20 ERA for 45 frames and solidified his rotation spot. Like clockwork, he again had two good for every poor outing. So, Price’s approach is improving his slider to complement his four-seam fastball and sinker to achieve three solid appearances to one bad day.

Of those 16 good performances, eight including two complete games were seven frames or more. Therefore, before you bemoan an occasional Eflin clunker in ’20, remember his other two or three outstanding efforts. Thanks, J-Roll!