By Michael Donovan
Don’t look now but Phillies’ rookie Zach Eflin is pitching like the ace of the staff!
The Pirates got a solid performance out of their own ace last night at PNC Park, but Eflin answered with a gem of his own, throwing his first career shutout in a 4-0 win over Gerrit Cole.
Eflin mowed down the Pirates’ lineup, needing only 100 pitches to get through his second complete game in his last four starts, a three-hit masterpiece in which he outdueled Cole.
He benefitted from some impressive outfield defense by center fielder Odubel Herrera and right fielder Peter Bourjos, but he also induced eight groundouts and struck out six batters without a walk. He faced 29 batters, two more than the minimum, and retired 20 of the Pirates’ last 21 hitters.
“[Eflin] was, for lack of a better word, filthy tonight,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. “He got ahead of people, great movement on his fastball, good slider, occasional changeup, occasional curveball, but he pounded the strike zone and just went right after the hitters.”