Phillies

2020 Zach Eflin has been the best version yet: 'I have more confidence than ever'

Phillies

Zach Eflin dominated the Blue Jays Friday afternoon in the third shutout of his career. 

He's never felt as good about his repertoire as he has in 2020.

"I feel like I've clearly had the best stuff of my career this year," said Eflin, who is 3-2 with a 4.28 ERA through nine starts.

Eflin struck out nine in the seven-inning complete game. He has terrific strikeout (61) and walk (13) numbers in 48⅓ innings this season.

It goes down as a complete game even though it was part of a 2020 seven-inning doubleheader. It was Eflin's fifth career complete game. Over that span, he's finished what he's started more often than Jacob deGrom, Gerrit Cole or Clayton Kershaw, who have three CG's apiece.

The results are showing what Eflin is saying. He's struck out 11.4 batters per nine innings this season compared to 6.8 previously. 

He has the bread-and-butter sinker. His four-seam fastball averages just under 95 mph. Hitters are 3 for 40 this season against his curveball, hitting .075. On Friday, he struck out the side on hooks in the first inning and the Blue Jays went 0 for 8 against Uncle Charlie.

"Every pitch is working," the 26-year-old right-hander said. "I'm happy with where I'm at. I have more confidence than ever and I'm really just trying to carry that momentum for as long as I can."

Eflin will make only one more start in the regular season, Wednesday in D.C. The way the schedule lines up, it looks like Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola will pitch the Phillies' final two regular-season games. The playoffs begin two days later.

 

So if the Phillies can hang on, the start in their first playoff game in nine years will likely go to Eflin.