Zach Eflin’s first big-league save for Phillies might not be his last

HOUSTON — Zach Eflin nailed everything a closer is expected to Monday night.

Except the celebration.

He wasn’t quite sure what to do after his first big-league save. He looked a little like Jim Valvano looking for someone to hug, though he wasn’t running around like a crazy man.

“I was on the mound, looking around,” he said Tuesday, the day after closing out the Phillies’ postseason clincher. “Everybody was celebrating. I saw J.T. (Realmuto) coming. I was like, ‘Come on, come a little quicker.’ 

“It was awesome. I didn’t really know what to do. I was envisioning what would happen out there. I was just hoping J.T. full-sprinted and jumped in my arms, but we’ll save that for the World Series.”

Lidge and Ruiz.

Eflin and Realmuto.

OK, we’re getting ahead of ourselves here, but the scenario is at least possible now that the Phillies have punched their ticket to the October tournament.

And it might be a little more possible now that the Phillies have added a legitimate, fresh-armed bullpen weapon in Eflin.

In his first time pitching in the ninth inning as a reliever with a lead, Eflin closed out the Houston Astros on 14 pitches, 12 of them coming in a game-ending showdown with Mauricio Dubon. Eflin threw mostly sinkers, his bread and butter, at 94 mph, but mixed in a cutter and curveball.

The performance caught manager Rob Thomson’s eye.

Thomson was asked after Monday…

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