PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies right-hander Jerad Eickhoff has not looked like himself on the mound for some time. There might be an explanation why.He left the Phils' 9-1 loss in Game 1 of Wednesday's doubleheader against the Braves at Citizens Bank Park in the third inning because of nerve irritation in
PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies right-hander Jerad Eickhoff has not looked like himself on the mound for some time. There might be an explanation why.
He left the Phils' 9-1 loss in Game 1 of Wednesday's doubleheader against the Braves at Citizens Bank Park in the third inning because of nerve irritation in his right hand. He said he will be further examined Friday. Eickhoff is expected to be placed on the 10-day disabled list, and it is unclear if he will pitch again this season.
"I felt tingling in my hand," Eickhoff said. "Almost like numbness or weakness in it. I just couldn't exactly feel the baseball. That's never a good thing. It's something going on with a nerve, maybe. Where, exactly, I'm not sure. It's definitely a nerve issue. The strength in my shoulder is fine."
Eickhoff, who allowed six run on six hits in two-plus innings in the loss, has said in recent weeks that he is healthy, despite a noticeable drop in fastball velocity. Phillies general manager Matt Klentak and [manager Pete] Mackanin said the same.
"He wasn't on the [injury] reports," Mackanin said.
Eickhoff's four-seam fastball averaged 91.5 mph the past two seasons, but it was 90.4 mph in 2017 entering Wednesday's start. The drop has been more severe in recent weeks. It averaged just 89.4 mph in his first five starts in August.
It averaged just 88 mph on Wednesday.
"There were a couple of pitches when I looked up there, it was 86, 87," Eickhoff said. "That's not normal."
"We looked at it," Mackanin said about Eickhoff's velocity. "But he said he felt fine. Then, all of a sudden, he mentioned it. I don't know if and when he did it. It just came out of nowhere.
"We've seen it before where his velocity wasn't where we'd like it to be and wondered. We had all of our conversations of, 'What do you think it is?' Too many weights, whatever it might be. We don't know."
Eickhoff threw 44 pitches, but only 14 of them were four-seam fastballs, while 16 (36.4 percent) were sliders. He had thrown his slider just 16.6 percent of the time this season.
The Phillies have only a few healthy options on the 40-man roster: right-handers Drew Anderson and Jake Thompson and left-hander Elniery Garcia. They also could add a pitcher to the 40-man.
Do the Phillies have enough pitching to get through the rest of the season?
"This is what we have, and we have to make the most of it," Mackanin said. "We have a lot of young pitchers who are finding their way. They're feeling their way through the big leagues, and they're taking their lumps. They're learning what it takes to pitch at this level. All we can do is run them out there and keep coaching them and telling them what they need to hear and go from there. It's the only way we can approach it."
Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and listen to his podcast.