Phillies Option Eflin; Kendrick Could Return
The Phillies have not gotten what they would have liked from starter Zach Eflin the last two starts. After his first five starts providing the Phillies with competitive play, Eflin allowed seven earned runs in four innings on May 17 and then eight earned runs in six innings on Sunday. The rough outing meant a demotion for Eflin. The Phillies announced after Sunday's game that Eflin was optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
The Phillies have not yet announced a corresponding move. One possibility is that the Phillies add the rehabbing Howie Kendrick to the active roster before the Phillies begin a series in Miami on Monday night. Kendrick is with the IronPigs, who are set to play an evening game on Sunday, but he was not set to appear in the IronPigs starting lineup.
The probably replacement for Eflin is starter Nick Pivetta. Pivetta will take the mound for the IronPigs Sunday night, which means he will have no problem taking Eflin's next turn in the rotation on Friday. Pivetta was optioned to Triple-A when Aaron Nola returned to the Phillies rotation.
Pivetta made one start since re-joining the IronPigs, going seven innings and allowing one earned run. For the Phillies, Pivetta went 0-2 with a 5.12 earned run average. At Triple-A Pivetta is 4-0 with a 1.04 earned run average in two stints.
Kendrick has been playing third base and left field for the IronPigs. When he returns to Philadelphia, it will not likely come in place of Aaron Altherr, who has clearly taken over a daily place in the Phillies outfield. Kendrick could take at bats from Maikel Franco at third, or in place of Michael Saunders or even Odubel Herrera in the outfield, since Altherr is a very capable center fielder.
The Phillies have not won a series since the end of April, but have yet to make any major changes. That appears to be changing with the demotion of Eflin and Kendrick's return likely forcing some changes in playing time.