MIAMI — Zach Eflin, a Florida native who is from the Orlando area, will pitch in his home state for the first time as a major-leaguer on Wednesday.
He will oppose Marlins left-hander Adam Conley, a 26-year-old who has emerged as Miami's No. 2 starter.
The Marlins (54-46) and Phillies (46-56) have split the first two games of the series entering Wednesday's finale.
Article continues below ...
Eflin, 22, was drafted in the first round (supplemental), 33rd overall, in 2012, straight out of high school. He has already been traded twice — by the San Diego Padres as a part of a package to get outfielder Matt Kemp and by the Los Angeles Dodgers as part of a deal to get shortstop Jimmy Rollins.
Now, though, Eflin has settled in as one of the Phillies' brightest hopes in the rotation. He has pitched two complete games this month — highly unusual in today's major leagues, especially for a rookie.
His most recent start was a three-hit shutout win over the Pittsburgh Pirates. Eflin walked no one and needed only 100 pitches to earn his third win. He is 3-3 with a 3.40 ERA overall.
Eflin has come a long way since June 14, when he made his big-league debut in an 11-3 loss at the Toronto Blue Jays. He lasted just 2 2/3 innings, walking three and allowing nine hits and nine runs, eight earned. The Jays hit three homers off Eflin.
“After his debut, we were kind of surprised because he was advertised as a guy with good command,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. “He pitches to both sides of the plate, but we didn't see that (in his debut).
“But it's not unusual for a (rookie) to come up, and the catcher doesn't really know him, so they don't pitch to his strength.”
Mackanin said Eflin has improved “incrementally” since his debut.
“His command has been really good,” Mackanin said. “To pitch the way he's pitching, that's one of the things I'm really excited about with (our team), the young starters we have. Our pitching has been probably our best strength because of our young starters.”
Miami's rotation has been mostly erratic once you get past All-Star Jose Fernandez. But Conley (6-5, 3.58 ERA) has had a good July.
Conley is 2-0 with a 2.35 ERA this month, striking out 21 batters in 23 innings.
“He's been pretty reliable,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said of Conley, who is 1-0 against the Phillies this year. “I think he's going to get better.
“With time, experience and general strength, I think he will get more consistent over time.”
In other story lines for Wednesday's game:
Marlins outfielder Ichiro Suzuki, who went 1-for-5 and also stole a base on Tuesday, needs three more hits for 3,000. Manager Don Mattingly has not said if Suzuki will be in Wednesday's starting lineup.
In addition, Suzuki's 507 steals are the most among active players.
Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton has 523 career RBIs, which ties him with former Marlins star Miguel Cabrera for third place in franchise history. With one more RBI, Stanton will be alone in third place.
Marlins closer A.J. Ramos (finger) was not available Tuesday. His status is day to day.
Phillies outfielder Peter Bourjos left Tuesday's game with an injury to his right shoulder. He is day-to-day.