Eflin tosses a complete game as Phillies beat Marlins


Eflin tosses a complete game for the Phillies
Andrew Knapp stood in front of his locker with a smile on his face. He came up alongside Zach Eflin in the Phillies' farm-system and first caught him in Double-A. There's a bond there that made Saturday afternoon even more special.

Eflin tossed a complete-game, the third of his career, and pieced together an outstanding performance as the Phillies beat the Marlins at Citizens Bank Park, 5-1.

"I think this is my first one in the big leagues as a catcher," Knapp said of the complete game. "I wouldn't want to do it with any other guy, I've been catching Zach since Double-A and we have a pretty good rapport."

Eflin threw 107 pitches, 77 for strikes. He surrendered seven hits, walked none, and struck out seven. It's the first nine inning complete game by a Phillie pitcher since Sept. 17, 2016 when Jeremy Hellickson went the distance against the Marlins.

"I just had a really good connection with Knapp the entire way," Eflin said. "I think he called a fantastic game. I rode with my two-seam today and that worked pretty well. To be taking a step forward like this, it's big."

Eflin said he was ready to plead his case to manager Gabe Kapler to finish the game off if he spoke to him about coming out prior to the ninth inning, but that never happened.

"Efflin was efficient," said Kapler. "He never really had any stressful innings and there wasn't a lot of hard contact. He was executing his fastball and slideron the plate and off, plus he was elevating well. There never really was a moment there where we didn't want to keep pushing him through that game."

"To have his trust, that's huge," Eflin said.

Jean Segura, a night after being hit in the helmet with a fastball, finished with three hits, an RBI, and two runs scored. It was his ninth multi-hit game of the season.

Through 28 games the Phillies have 16 wins, an identical mark to where the club stood at this time last year.

"I think it feels like two different teams," Kapler admitted. "I think, in all fairness, last year's club - even at that point - was a tad over our skis and that's relative to this club where this feels more representative of the club we are. I think we can be even better than we've been in April."

The Philies will enjoy an off-day on Monday before welcoming Detroit to Citizens Bank Park for a short two-game set beginning on Tuesday.

Cesar miscues
Though neither resulted in an error, Cesar Hernandez committed a pair of defensive blunders early in Sunday's contest. He misjudged a Lewis Brinson pop-up in the third and made a play on a grounder in the fourth that he should have left to Jean Segura as his momentum carried him away from making a throw to first. That play, in particular, was troublesome as it allowed the Marlins to get on the board.

"Just like hitters tend to go through slumps where they don't have a rhythm at the plate, I think Cesar is struggling with something similar right now where he just doesn't have his rhythm on defense," Kapler said. "It's unfortunate, but we're going to stick with him and he's been a good defender in the past. We know it'll come around as well."
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BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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