Tom Eshelman pitches against the Toledo Mud Hens on June 2, 2018 at Coca-Cola Park. (Photo by Cheryl Pursell)
Tom Eshelman, who didn’t make it out of the first inning in his last start for Lehigh Valley, has been placed on the DL with a shin contusion. Many times, “shin contusion” is somewhat of a phantom injury that allows an organization to place a player on the DL to clear a roster spot. The IronPigs started Brandon Leibrandt in Eshelman’s place against Charlotte on Friday night.
Leibrandt (2-0, 1.19) had thrown 2 2/3 perfect innings in relief of Eshelman on June 2nd and followed that up with 4 2/3 innings against Charlotte in Friday’s start.
The Phillies had hoped that Eshelman had turned a corner on what has been a difficult season when he allowed just one run on four hits and no walks against Rochester on May 23rd. The outing dropped his ERA from 6.48 to 5.73 on the season but two outings since then that have resulted in 2 1/3 innings with four walks and 10 hits allowed, have resulted in nine earned runs and ballooned his ERA to 7.06 in 11 games this season.
Against Toledo, Eshelman faced just eight batters with seven straight reaching base. He also allowed a home run in his 1/3 of an inning.
Lehigh Valley will need another starter for the second game of Tuesday’s double-header at home against Buffalo. It’s possible that Jake Thompson (0-1-1, 4.97) will start that game for the IronPigs. Of Thompson’s 15 games this season, 12 have been out of the bullpen. In his three starts, which all came in April, Thompson has a 10.80 ERA and an 0-1 record.
Eshelman is coming off a season where he went 10-3, 2.23 in 18 starts with Lehigh Valley and 3-0, 3.10 in his five starts with Reading to open the season. He was named the Paul Owens Award winner as the best pitcher in the Phillies organization at the end of last season. He opened the 2018 season as the 12th best prospect on the Philly Baseball Insider list of the Phillies Top 80 Prospects.