Nick Pivetta optioned, Jerad Eickhoff enters rotation

Kevin Dietsch/UPI

Phillies starting pitcher, Nick Pivetta, has been sent down to the minors, effective today. His replacement will be Jerad Eickhoff, who was called up to the Philadelphia Phillies yesterday.

It was supposed to be the breakout season for Pivetta. After showing some promise in 2018 with a 10.3 strikeout-per-nine, Pivetta has not been able to make any improvements in 2019 thus far. His ERA has spiked up to an 8.35 and his strikeout rate is down, only striking out 7.9 per-nine innings.

Pivetta’s season started the season allowing four runs in each of his first two games, but his third start is where things started to implode. In what is so far the Phillies’ worst loss of the season, Pivetta surrendered seven runs in only 3.2 innings of work against the Nationals. The final score ended up being 15-1.

Now enters Eickhoff, who missed the majority of the 2018 season with a lat injury that led to carpal tunnel surgery in October. It’s been a long recovery for Eickhoff, having numerous setbacks before the season started, but last night’s game proved he was back. The right-hander struck out six in four innings, allowing only three hits and earning a save. The best part, the curveball looked as good as it did before.

The thing that can’t be ruled out is health. Eickhoff only had 59 pitches in his appearance last night against the Mets, and I don’t imagine the Phillies will consistently pitch Eickhoff over 80-90 pitches each start. That is where Adam Morgan comes in.

Morgan, who switched to a reliever role in 2017, has yet to let up a run in eight appearances. His best career work has come out of the bullpen, but Morgan began his MLB career as a starting pitcher. Relief pitchers starting games has become more common in baseball now. This is a recent trend used most often by the Tampa Bay Rays. It’s been proven to be effective at times and, in the right spots, could be useful for the Phillies to use Morgan in that role.


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