Wednesday’s 2-0 loss by the Phillies’ Jerad Eickhoff was nothing new.
The 26-year-old curveball hurler led the Phillies in innings pitched and ERA last season and showed as much promise as any young pitcher in the majors.
But his record, 11-14, told a different story.
In 20 of 33 starts, Eickhoff threw six or more innings and allowed three or less runs, among the best in the majors in quality starts. His first of 2017 was similar as he allowed two runs to the Reds, one of which came on a perfect curveball that was creamed for a solo homer by Joey Votto.
“The homer to Votto, the 1-0 curveball, it’s kind of one of those things where I threw one of my better pitches,” Eickhoff said. “You just tip your cap. I think it might have fooled him a little but he was able to keep his hands back and put the barrel on it and he’s strong enough to put it out of the park.”
Eickhoff was given four hits and no runs of support in the second game of the season. Last season he averaged 3.58 runs per game in support, the sixth worst of every pitcher in the majors.
In addition to his curve, Eickhoff is also known for his control, boasting one of the better strikeout to walk ratios in baseball.
Every five days the Phils will trot their 6-foot-4 right-hander to the mound for the remainder of the season. And as history has shown, the Phillies will have a good chance to win every single one of them. The questions is, can the Phillies muster up enough support so the talented pitcher isn’t hung out to dry every week?