Philadelphia Phillies right-hander Zach Eflin, who continues to improve, is set to face the host Miami Marlins on Monday night.
The Marlins will counter with impressive rookie left-hander Trevor Rogers (6-2, 1.74 ERA), who beat Eflin, 3-1, on Wednesday in Philadelphia.
Eflin (2-3, 3.77 ERA) has been reliable this year, pitching at least six innings in each of his nine starts. He has struck out 57 batters in 57.1 innings, repeatedly pounding the lower part of the strike zone with sinkers and using a slow, sweeping curve as his out pitch.
Unlike some noteworthy top-end pitchers, Eflin has a low spin rate, but he gets batters to hit the ball on the ground, allowing his infielders to record outs.
Eflin has six quality starts this year, including the one he tossed in that game against Rogers. He allowed six hits, no walks and two runs in that game, striking out six batters in six innings.
However, Eflin was perturbed by the solo homer he allowed to Brian Anderson in the second inning.
“Just unacceptable,” Eflin said. “I have to be able to miss off the plate if I’m going sinker away to guys like that. It just can’t happen.”
After that homer, Eflin retired 12 of Miami’s next 13 batters before Miguel Rojas doubled and Adam Duvall followed with an RBI single two batters later.
In 11 career appearances against Miami — all of them starts — Eflin is 5-4 with a 4.37 ERA. He has allowed more homers (11) than walks (10) in those games.
Eflin has struggled in six career starts in Miami, going 1-3 with a 6.68 ERA.
Meanwhile, Rogers went a career-high 7.2 innings in his most recent start, holding the Phillies to one run on five innings. He got to 100 career strikeouts in that start, becoming the third-fastest Marlins pitcher to reach that milestone, doing so in just 76 2/3 innings.
“It’s a big milestone,” Rogers said. “But this is just the beginning. I’m going to continue to work to get better.”
In two career starts against the Phillies — including one last year — Rogers is 1-1 with a 7.59 ERA.
The Phillies handed Rogers his first career loss in an 11-0 rout in Miami last Sept. 11. Rogers lasted just three innings, allowing nine hits — including two homers — and nine runs, eight earned.
In those two games against the Phillies, Rogers allowed three homers — two to Andrew McCutchen and one to Rhys Hoskins.
Rogers, though, obviously learned some lessons from last year’s loss, and that bodes well for his future, according to Marlins manager Don Mattingly.
“I feel comfortable knowing he’s not going to quit working,” Mattingly said of Rogers. “He’s not going to relax and take his foot off the gas.”
Miami, which beat the New York Mets, 5-1, on Sunday behind seven scoreless innings from another rookie pitcher, Cody Poteet, is on a roll. The Marlins have won two straight series and five of their past seven games.
One of those series was at Philadelphia (May 18-20).
Meanwhile, the Phillies beat the Boston Red Sox 6-2 on Sunday, snapping a four-game losing streak. But, even with the win on Sunday, the Phillies have lost six of their past eight games.
–Field Level Media