By Sam Bush
Zach Eflin had an outstanding start last night in Atlanta for the Phillies, his first start since May 28:
He allowed seven hits, two runs, one walk and struck out three in seven innings. He got 12 outs on ground balls, inducing weak contact with his two-seam fastball.
“It’s just been one of those years,” Eflin told MLB.com. “I’ve pitched really good and I’ve pitched very bad. I went through some mechanical stuff at Triple-A and I feel like I’m right now. I’m back to my old self, attacking the zone and getting ahead of guys. Throwing in and all of that stuff. I feel comfortable on the mound.”
Eflin replaced Phillies right-hander Clay Buchholz in the rotation in April. He posted an impressive 2.81 ERA in his first five starts, pitching seven innings in three of them. But then he allowed 22 runs in his next three, prompting the Phillies to option him to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
“I want to be a part of this team and this future,” Eflin said. “I want to go through the ups and downs with all of these guys. I want to be here. That’s the only thing on my mind. I want to pitch well and I want to be here and I want to win a lot of ballgames. I just have to keep working every single day and stick to the game plan and feel comfortable on the mound.”
“It’s been very comfortable,” Eflin said. “I can still attack with the two-seamer on both sides of the plate. My offspeed is sharper from that side. I just feel comfortable.”
“Obviously you want to go the whole game like you do every game, but to be able to hunker down and get the guys out that I needed to get out was really big for me,” Eflin said. “Especially after going down and working on everything I needed to work on in Triple-A and coming back up. I needed to prove to myself that I could fight through adversity and get through that inning.”