How Did Robbie Erlin Win San Diego Padres' Rotation Spot Over Matt Wisler?

By Jason Cooper
Padres Robbie Erlin
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

When it was announced that San Diego Padres starter Josh Johnson would miss more than a month of action due to injury, it became public knowledge that the leading candidates to replace Johnson were Matt Wisler and Robbie Erlin.

As we all know, Wisler got the first crack at proving himself worthy of the spot, but he cracked under the pressure, allowing five runs in 2.2 innings of work. After Wisler’s performance, I shared my thoughts, saying:

“Wisler finished with a stat-line of five earned runs in 2.2 innings of work, not a good look when a spot in the starting rotation is on the line. Wisler might have more upside than Erlin from a skill standpoint, but based on Wisler’s performance today, a decent outing from Erlin this week could earn him the job.”

Well, Erlin would have that outing on Wednesday, and I think it’s safe to say that his five innings of scoreless baseball against the Kansas City Royals was more than decent, and according to reports, he earned himself the rotation spot in the process.

Erlin struck out six in the outing, giving him with 12 strikeouts in 12.1 innings on the spring, complimenting his dominating 1.76 era. Erlin’s five innings were the most he’s pitched all spring, which made his performance even more impressive. After pitching no more than two innings in a game all spring, the fact that Erlin was able to pitch so effectively after stretching himself out three extra innings and 45 more pitches than his previous spring high had to make the decision an easy one to make for the organization.

Losing Johnson initially looked like a huge blow to the Padres’ rotation, but if Erlin can pitch anywhere near the level he pitched this spring, the Padres will be in good hands until Johnson returns, and possibly even beyond.

Jason Cooper is a San Diego Padres writer for  Follow him on Twitter @mrjcpr or add him to your network on Google.

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