When Tyson Ross went down with injury, Padres fans heart sank into their chests. After a brutal opening series against the division rival Los Angeles Dodgers in which the team was outscored 25-0, news of their ace being disabled was horrific. Ross was to have a break out year in 2016 and take his game to a whole new level. We will have to wait and see if Ross can rebound from this early setback, but certainly not a positive start for the Padres.
With the loss of Tyson Ross a spot opened up in the San Diego Padres starting rotation. Left handed pitcher Robbie Erlin had the most consistent Spring for the team, and he looked like he was going to make the rotation when camp broke. Ultimately Andy Green and the Padres management decided to put Drew Pomeranz and Colin Rea in the rotation and Erlin was sent to Triple-A to start the season. Or so he thought.
Before he could even throw a pitch in El Paso, Erlin was recalled by the team and has been very productive. The smaller sized Erlin pitches with a lot of heart. He is also not afraid to attack hitters despite not being blessed with dominant stuff. He is a pitcher in every sense of the word. That is a good thing, because the Padres staff is full hard throwers and he compliments them really well.
Erlin was acquired from the Texas Rangers in July of 2011 with Joe Wieland for Mike Adams. Erlin has been up and down from Triple-A since 2013 and s 9-10 with a 4.48 ERA in 136 innings pitched. 24 out of his 29 appearances in the major leagues have been in the starting rotation. His stuff just plays better in that capacity at this point.
Erlin was hit pretty hard last season in Triple-A. El Paso is a notorious hitters ballpark and the left-handed was victimized to the tune of a 5.60 ERA in his 24 starts. Erlin finished the year 7-6 and threw 125 innings. The lessons and experience he learned at that level (and in particularly in that ballpark), will bode well for his future and his ability to get major league hitters out. Erlin has the stuff, it is just a matter of fine tuning.
So far this season in two appearances, Erlin has been spot on. He has attacked hitters and constantly worked ahead in the count. Doing this in two notorious hitters ballparks like Coors Field and Citizens Bank. Pretty exciting stuff if you are a Padres fan. Erlin look poised to be a vital member of the staff this season. His emergence comes at the perfect time.
In Philadelphia on Tuesday the 25-year-old Erlin seemed like he was going to earn his second win of the season. Instead Charlie Morton was on and the Phillies bullpen limited the Padres offense. Erlin finished the game going seven strong innings only allowing one run on three hits while walking two and striking out seven. He lowered his ERA to 0.93 on the season. Another impressive thing about Erlin was his pitch efficiency on Tuesday. He only threw 80 pitches in his seven innings of work and with that kind of aggressiveness he should have continues success.