Eflin was the only Phillie that was able to disrupt deGrom in their 5-0 loss to the Mets on Sunday. The 22-year-old's third-inning single was his team's only hit of the afternoon, as deGrom was dominant in his first career complete game. Eflin, meanwhile, could not find his groove, but he didn't let that stop him from turning in his fifth consecutive quality start.
The Phillies' right-hander made his fair share of mistakes -- leaving balls up in the zone and not finishing once he got ahead in counts. But Eflin never allowed more than one run in an inning, yielding three earned on five hits in six frames.
"I think I did a good job of limiting the damage when I needed to, but I know I left some balls up that shouldn't have been up," he said. "I didn't have my best stuff today, but I was able to battle."
Eflin now has a 2.56 ERA in his last six starts following a lousy debut in which he gave up eight earned runs to the Blue Jays in 2 2/3 innings on June 14.
The five hits he allowed on Sunday were the most since his debut, and Eflin struggled both when he was up in the count and when there were two outs. Three of the Mets' five hits off Eflin were RBI extra-base hits with two outs.
Juan Lagares got the scoring started with an RBI triple in the second, and Curtis Granderson made it 2-0 with a towering solo homer in the third. Both hitters turned 0-2 counts into full counts before driving in a run.
"He made some mistakes," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said of Eflin. "One of the things we have to address as a group is when we get hitters 0-2 or get ahead of hitters, we have to be able to put them away. We were having trouble doing that. The 0-2 count to Granderson went to 3-2, and he hit a home run off a mistake up in the zone."
A Jose Reyes double made it 3-0 in the fifth inning, and Eflin followed it with back-to-back walks. A loss of command is rare for the rookie, who had given just two free passes in his previous 27 innings entering Sunday.
But with the bases loaded, Eflin buckled down and got Neil Walker to ground out to end the threat. Eflin went back out and threw a 1-2-3 sixth inning to ensure a quality start.
Eflin was not the star or his best self on Sunday, but he still showed why the Phillies hope he can be part of the rotation for the foreseeable future.
"He's 22 years old in his first year at the big league level, and I really like him," Mackanin said. "He has a great future ahead of him. ... He made a few more mistakes than he probably should have, but he pitched a quality start."
Stephen Pianovich is a contributor to MLB.com based in Philadelphia.