“If you don’t think baseball is a big deal, don’t do it. But if you do, do it right.”
Young Zach Eflin, the recently turned 22-year old right-hander who came over in the Rollins deal, continued his dominant ways yesterday hanging seven innings of 2-hit shutout ball on a talented Syracuse team. He used 106 pitches with 64 strikes, but that’s not down to inefficiency, because the strike zone was like a postage stamp yesterday (The opposing pitcher had similar, but worse numbers pitch-wise.) Tip of the cap to Carlos Alonso, too, for his first AAA homer in the fifth inning.
With his 5-0 record and 2.36 ERA, Eflin now rises to the top in my “confidence rankings” for the starting pitchers. To review, if the Phillies need a starter, this is how I’d rank them, keeping in mind that rotational availability might play a role as well (phillies rotation spot is in parentheses).
- (6) Zach Eflin. The Phillies aren’t really at a place where they just want to call guys up, only to send them back down. With the top-prospects in the system, they’ll go up and stay there only when they’re fully ready. Here’s the thing, I’m starting to think Zach is ready. Not that there aren’t things for him to continue to work on at AAA, and not that they’ll bump a guy from the current Phillies rotation just because. But if the call came out for more than just a “spot start” he’d be my guy right now.
- (7) Alec Asher. Alec got a taste late last year, but with the added sinker, he’s really dominated. I think the only reason he’s not above Zach at this point: I’ve yet to find out, “What happens when the sinker doesn’t sink?” –to quote one guy I know.
- (8) David Buchanan. He’s coming off a really good outing, and even though the numbers don’t exactly show it, I thought he threw well in the couple before it as well. His experience still carries weight here, as well.
- (9) Jake Thompson. Jake seems to be improving with every outing, so I’d be hard-pressed to throw him in the MLB fire right now. He has such high potential, I want to see the development continue to progress unmolested by big-city expectations.
- (10) Mark Appel. As I wrote the other day, I get the distinct feeling that they have Mark working on certain things. Something about the pitch-selection and the whole mechanics issue with his stretch motion–while this work continues I wouldn’t be in a hurry to disrupt it with a promotion just yet. Lundy up from AA as the pitching coach should be a help here. I used to refer to him as the “mechanics whisperer” in past writings, as I observed that guys sent down to AA would make mechanics tweaks and come back throwing better.
Prior to yesterday’s game, I officially started the “Asche Watch,” thinking they might announce something about his rehab being moved from Clearwater to Allentown for the rest of this home-stand. But they had a double dip last night in the FSL, and Asche is hitting a robust Buck-Thirty Three, oh for his last eight with three K’s. Maybe not just yet. The Threshers return home Friday, so put the call out again on Friday morning (after tonight’s game at the St Lucie Mets).
RHP Michael Mariot had his rehab effectively finished yesterday; he was activated and optioned to the IronPigs. There will need to be a roster move today to accommodate him, I don’t have a reasonable guess as to what.
LHP Mario Hollads will continue his rehab in Reading. The Fightins return home from Maryland later today, for a weekend home-stand starting tomorrow.
First Pitch: 7:05PM; Gates 5:00PM (happy hour); Club Level 5:30PM
Toledo comes to town for their annual visit to Coca Cola Park. They’ll be in town for four days as the “bacon and eggs” series continues, with the ‘Pigs up 3-0 following their sweep in Ohio. The Mud Hens are the AAA affiliate of the Detroit Tigers. They are 17-21 and in last place in the IL West.
As far as players Phillies and IronPigs fans might recognize, centerfielder Anthony Gose was at one time a prospect in our system, and finds himself back at AAA right now. Nate Schierholtz was a Phillie (and an IronPig) for about five minutes, once.
As far as prospects go, CF Wynton Bernard was listed at number 13 in the system on one site, and SS Dixon Machado #14, but that’s about it.
RHP David Buchanan (2-2, 4.42) takes the hill tonight to battle likely Toledo starter RHP Buck Farmer (0-2, 5.25). Farmer and Buchanan battled last Saturday in Ohio, with Buck coming out on top in the 5-1 IronPigs win. Stassi, Knapp and Perkins all had doubles, and Cedric Hunter had the only multi-hit game for the Pigs. Farmer only went 4.1 in the game.
Spatula give-away. (Oh, I get it, for the bacon and eggs. It just hit me…)
“Bacon and Eggs” Night (Game-worn Cap Raffle)
Pre-game Happy Hour 5-7PM: $1 Hot Dogs and $2 Domestic Drafts
Cap: I think red bacon tonight.
At one point yesterday, before Scranton swept a double-header and Rochester also leap-frogged us, the Phillies, IronPigs, Reading Fightins, and Clearwater Threshers were all in first place at the same time. That’s pretty cool. I’m riding the 6-of-7 streak, and appreciating taking two of three from a tough Syracuse team. The need to take care of business over the next four–shouldn’t be dropping games to last-place teams at home, much, if you can help it.
And they’re doing it with young guys like Alonso getting the homer yesterday, Eflin dominating again, guys like Stassi and Knappy and Williams….and more! It’s fun to watch, and I hope that it continues! You also can’t over-state how important it is to have a quality starter each and every night.
Link of the Day
Here’s a click to see Cam Perkins’ super catch from the other night:
See you at the park,
PS: I’m still on the fence about SteelHawks vs. IronPigs for Saturday night. There’s some talk of trying to do both… There’s also talk of our first post-game tailgate for Sunday following the game.
PPS: Quote of the day, yesterday: “You know, the bloody-mary mix would last longer if you’d just water it down with more vodka.” –anonymous, upon learning that the club bar ran out of bloody-marys.