In a span of a week, Robbie Erlin went from being one of the San Diego Padres' last roster cuts to a spot in their rotation.
The left-hander's whirlwind beginning to the season continues Tuesday night when he takes the mound for the second of a four-game road series against the Philadelphia Phillies.
Erlin pitched well in four Cactus League starts, posting a 2.25 ERA over 12 innings before being sent to Triple-A El Paso on April 3. His stay in the minors was brief, though, as Erlin was recalled Friday when reliever Matt Thornton went on the 15-day disabled list.
He pitched that day in relief at Colorado, allowing one hit over 3 2-3 scoreless innings to pick up the win.
“Robbie's a really versatile piece,” manager Andy Green told MLB's official website. “He's a guy that can start, can pitch in long relief, can pitch out of the bullpen, can match up. So I think in time, you'll probably see him do all of those things.”
The time for Erlin to start came sooner than expected after the Padres placed opening-day starter Tyson Ross on the DL on Saturday with shoulder inflammation.
“That's just how it played out,” Erlin said. “I haven't really given it too much thought. You just kind of expect that kind of stuff in this game. You've got to be on your toes and ready to move at the drop of a hat.”
Erlin was called up in mid-September and went 1-2 with a 4.76 ERA in three starts. He's 9-10 with a 4.48 ERA in 28 appearances – 23 starts – since making his major league debut with San Diego in 2013.
Two of those starts came against Philadelphia – both at home – with Erlin going 1-0 with a 2.19 ERA and striking out 11 with one walk in 12 1-3 innings.
San Diego set a major-league record by starting the season with a 30-inning scoreless streak before beating the Rockies 13-6 in the game Erlin earned the victory.
The Padres followed with another blowout win Saturday, 16-3, before losing 6-3 in the finale at Coors Field. San Diego (3-4) opened this series with a 4-3 victory Monday, spoiling the Phillies' home opener and preventing them from winning three in a row.
Alexi Amarista's safety squeeze in the seventh broke a tie.
Charlie Morton gets the ball after a poor first start for Philadelphia (2-5). The right-hander, acquired from Pittsburgh in December, gave up six runs and five hits over 3 2-3 innings of a 10-6 loss at Cincinnati on Thursday.
“I felt like I was getting in trouble out of the stretch,” Morton said. “I don't know if it was (because it was) the second time through (the lineup). I was struggling out of the stretch. I felt like I was getting ahead. Then I started getting into deep counts.”
Morton went 1-5 with a 6.95 ERA in his final seven starts last season but appears to have a good chance to get on track Tuesday. He's 4-1 with a 2.70 ERA in seven outings against the Padres.
Morton is quite familiar with former St. Louis outfielder Jon Jay from their NL Central matchups. Jay is 9 for 22 and has been hit a career-high five times by Morton.
Jay has hit safely in all seven games and has five RBIs over the last four, including a run-scoring double Monday.