The San Diego Padres optioned right-handed pitcher Robbie Erlin back to Triple-A Tucson one day after he secured his first career Major League win. Did the Padres make the wrong move by sending Erlin back down right away?
The 22-year-old made his Major League Baseball debut on April 30 in a relief appearance against the Chicago Cubs. He allowed two earned runs on three hits in one inning of work. He made one more appearance out of the bullpen before San Diego sent him down to the minors to get some work.
The Padres were forced to call upon him exactly one month later to make a spot start for Clayton Richard, the first of his career. He did manage to surrender his fair share of hits (eight), but he also only gave up two earned runs and struck out four batters in the process. His top-notch performance was necessary as San Diego narrowly defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 4-3 on Saturday.
“What Robbie did last night (Saturday) did not surprise me, he’s a good pitcher,” manager Bud Black said, according to Padres.com.
The Padres like what they have seen from Erlin, but the fact of the matter is he needs to continue making consistent starts in Triple-A. As of right now, there is no room for him in the starting rotation and San Diego does not want to use him out of the bullpen. The organization believes he has the stuff to be a starter, but the only way to know for sure is to see what happens in the minors.
Erlin is 4-0 with a 3.79 earned run average and 37 strikeouts in eight starts for Triple-A Tucson this season.