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Phillies move Zach Eflin to bullpen

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Phillies starter Zach Eflin has been taken out of the starting rotation and moved to the bullpen, at least temporarily, MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reports. This comes on the heels of the Phillies’ acquisition of starter Jason Vargas from the Mets.

Eflin, 25, got off to a terrific start to the season, carrying a 2.83 ERA through his first 14 starts. Over his last six starts, however, he has given up 36 runs (31 earned) on 47 hits and nine walks with 19 strikeouts spanning 26 2/3 innings.

Neither the Phillies’ rotation nor the bullpen has been reliable this season, but the rotation is a bit easier for the club to patch than the bullpen. The bullpen is currently operating without David Robertson, Pat Neshek, Tommy Hunter, Seranthony Domínguez, Vìctor Arano, and Edubray Ramos.

Eflin, to his credit, was realistic about his demotion. He said, “If I don’t like it, I should pitch better. I hadn’t really been doing my job. Going to the bullpen is another opportunity for me. It’s a challenge. I’m a fan of challenges. Go down there and be the best version of myself I can be.” He added, “I still believe wholeheartedly that I’m a starter.”

Cody Bellinger wins 2019 National League Most Valuable Player Award

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Dodgers outfielder Cody Bellinger was named the 2019 National League Most Valuable Player by the Baseball Writers Associated of America. He received 19 of 30 first-place votes.

Bellinger, 24, was the NL Rookie of the Year two years ago and is now the MVP. In 2019, he hit .305/.406/.629 with 47 home runs, 115 RBI, 121 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases. Among qualified position players in the NL, Bellinger and Christian Yelich tied in Wins Above Replacement at 7.8, according to FanGraphs. Bellinger’s strong year helped the Dodgers win a franchise record 106 games, though they were stopped short in the NLDS by the eventual world champion Nationals.

Bellinger is the first Dodger to win the award since Clayton Kershaw in 2014. He also joins Kirk Gibson, Steve Garvey, Sandy Koufax, and Maury Wills to win the award since the team moved to Los Angeles. Bellinger is overall the 13th Dodger to be named the MVP. He is the 18th NL player to win both a Rookie of the Year Award and an MVP award.

Yelich finished in second place and Anthony Rendon finished in third place. They were followed by Ketel Marte, Ronald Acuña Jr., Nolan Arenado, and Pete Alonso. Also receiving votes were Freddie Freeman, Juan Soto, Jacob deGrom, Josh Donaldson, Trevor Story, Jack Flaherty, J.T. Realmuto, Yasmani Grandal, Max Muncy, Stephen Strasburg, Eugenio Suárez, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Paul Goldschmidt, Kolten Wong, Kevin Pillar, and Max Scherzer.