Phillies-Blue Jays Preview
TORONTO -- Zach Eflin will make his major league debut Tuesday as the Philadelphia Phillies and the Toronto Blue Jays continue their four-game interleague series.
The Blue Jays will be looking to rebound from the 7-0 loss to the Phillies in Monday's opener. The Blue Jays might have been a little flat after winning three of four draining games -- three decided by one run -- against the Baltimore Orioles, an American League East rival.
"Today was kind of a letdown," said Toronto right-hander R.A. Dickey, who took the loss. "I don't think we played with a lot of energy today. We had a lot of games where lately we've been very invested against division opponents. It's plausible that that would be the case.
"You play the Phillies, and they don't have a winning record. It was just a low-energy day for us all around it felt like. Thank goodness it only counts for one loss, you know? It feels like a lot worse."
Eflin could be meeting a team that has retained its focus or one that is still drained.
He was given the chance to find out what kind of Blue Jays team will show up Tuesday after Vince Velasquez was put on the disabled list Friday with a strained right biceps.
The right-hander was taken in the first round (the 33rd player taken overall) in the 2012 draft by the San Diego Padres. The Phillies acquired him in the trade that sent Jimmy Rollins to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Dec. 19, 2014. The Dodgers had acquired Eflin the day before as part of a trade with the Padres.
Eflin was 5-2 with a 2.90 earned-run average in 11 starts with Triple-A Lehigh Valley when the call from Philadelphia came.
"I know he's got a good arm and I know he's got good stuff," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "He's got your four basic pitches and he's got good movement on his fastball.
"I was in here talking to him today and I told him, 'Up here if you make your pitches you're going to be successful, if you make mistakes you're going to get hit. It's as simple as that. Pitch the way you normally pitch and if you make quality pitches you're going to be okay.' He's got the stuff to be successful. It boils down to command and control."
Eflin will be facing a struggling opponent in Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman (5-2, 4.94 ERA). He has a 7.58 ERA over his past five starts. He did not factor in the decision in a 6-5 loss to the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday when he allowed eight hits, one walk and four runs with two strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings. This will be his first career start against the Phillies. In two relief appearances covering 2 2/3 innings, he is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA.
"I know people are worried that I'm struggling," he said. "I'm an extremely confident guy. I'm good where I'm at. I understand that I'm struggling, but I understand that I work harder than anybody else in this game."
Stroman is working on mechanical things, primarily getting over the top on his sinker. It has been flat during his struggles, although he had it for one quick inning against the Orioles before it deserted him again.
In seven interleague games, including three starts, he is 3-0 with a 1.72 ERA.