Eflin Dazzles With Shutout, As Irvin Gets Set to Make Debut
When Phillies starter Zach Eflin pitched a complete game on April 28, it was the first complete game from a Phillies pitcher since Eflin himself pitched one on July 5, 2016. Who was next in line? Zach Eflin, of course. On Saturday evening Eflin pitched a shutout for his second complete game of the season as the Phillies took down the Kansas City Royals 7-0.
Eflin scatted four hits and walked none, striking out seven batters. Eflin did hit two batters, but was able to work out of trouble. Eflin needed 110 pitches to secure the shutout.
With the victory, Eflin improved his record to 5-3 and lowered his earned run average to 2.57. Aside from his six-run outing against the Marlins in Miami on April 13, Eflin has not otherwise allowed more than three runs in any start.
Once again, Eflin was paired with backup catcher Andrew Knapp. Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said before the game that Knapp was not his personal catcher, but the duo worked together the last three starts, which resulted in two complete games and three victories. J.T. Realmuto served as the designated hitter.
Meanwhile, Cole Irvin has been officially named Sunday's starter. The Phillies placed starter Vince Velasquez on the 10-day injured list prior to Saturday's game, summoning left-handed reliever Austin Davis to take his immediate spot. The Phillies could hold onto Davis as they face the lefty-heavy Milwaukee Brewers this week.
Irvin has been stellar at Triple-A Lehigh Valley. In six starts, Irvin is 2-0 with a 2.25 earned run average. Last season, Irvin made 26 starts for the IronPigs, going 14-4 with a 2.57 earned run average. Those numbers were the best in the International League for wins and for earned run average.
The impending move gives the Phillies a left-handed starting pitcher Aside from Ranger Suarez making three spot starts in 2018, the Phillies have not had a regular left-handed starter since Adam Morgan moved to the bullpen for good in 2016.
The Phillies will make a roster move before Sunday's game. After Aaron Altherr was claimed on waivers by the San Francisco Giants, the Phillies have room on their 40-man roster to add Irvin.