Jerad Eickhoff was the silent leader of the Phillies rotation during the 2016 season. The past proclaimed “Mr. Consistency” had a great first full year in the majors last year, even with a record of 11-14 that doesn’t look great on the surface. Underneath that subpar record lies a 3.65 ERA, 167 strikeouts and 1.16 WHIP in a team-leading 197.1 innings pitched that helped the Phils hang around in every game that he pitched. His 20 quality starts were also a team high. Although the Phillies offense couldn’t pull through in most games that he pitched his best, fans and members of the Phillies staff saw under the surface of his win-loss record and saw the value that he brought to the 2016 Phillies.
So far this season, though, it has been a different story for the 26-year-old righty. In 9 starts, his record sits at 0-5 with a 4.70 ERA in 51.2 IP. His WHIP sits at 1.43, and opposing hitters have hit a combined .273 against him thus far. It has been more than a sorry offense that had led to Eickhoff losing games this year. He hasn’t done his part either.
Despite the bad statistics so far, Eickhoff did start the season off pretty well. In his first 4 starts, he had a record of 0-1, losing his first start of the year in Cincinnati on April 5th. He was hit with a no decision in the following 3 starts. In those 4 starts to begin the season, he gave up a total of 7 runs in 24.2 IP with 25 strikeouts and 18 hits surrendered. He pitched into the 7th inning in the first 2 starts, while in the 3rd start he got through 6 innings, and made it through 5 in the 4th start. He looked like his old self up to this point. In his past 5 starts, though, including last night against the Rockies, he’s seen his stats plummet. With his ERA after his first 4 starts of the year at 2.55, he now has a 4.70 ERA, thanks to a total of 20 runs given up over 27 IP in the last 5 games he has started. He has given up 4 or more runs in 4 of those 5 starts, including an outing that we are not used to seeing from him, making it through just 3 2/3 innings on May 9th against the Mariners.
The innings-eating, quality start-promising, usually consistent Jerad Eickhoff of 2016 has been lost so far in 2017 for a club who desperately needs their starters to make it deep into games, with a bullpen who has been historically awful this year.
The aforementioned first 4 starts of the season represent the Jerad Eickhoff that we know and grew to love last year, but in his past 5 starts, Eickhoff has looked like a young pitcher who could use some time down on the farm to work out some kinks. Hopefully it doesn’t get to that point and these past 5 starts are just a bump in the road for the promising right-hander. We need him now more than ever before.
With a Phillies team that has lost 18 of their last 22 games, the starting rotation will be a major key to getting this team back into the swing of things, and a guy like Eickhoff should be the one to emerge as a leader in that turnaround.
The best way to help a bullpen that has been so putrid so far is to keep them off the field, so if Eickhoff and the rest of the starters can lengthen out their starts more than they have been to this point, then our Phightin’ Phils should start to win some ball games. Boy, let’s hope so, because this has been hard to watch.
Photo: Bryan Green (Via: Flickr)
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