The Phillies, winners of four of their last five, try to build on yesterday's astounding comeback when they host the Brewers in game two of their four-game series.
Preview: Ever so slowly, the Phillies are climbing out of the hole they dug for themselves in early April. They’re 18-20, in third place, and trying for their fourth win in five games, the first of 10 to be played at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies offense knocked the vaunted Brewers’ bullpen down a peg or two last night in the eighth inning when they came roaring back against Brian Shouse and Derrick Turnbow. Tonight, they get a crack at right-hander Claudio Vargas (3-0, 2.65 ERA). Vargas has given up just one run over his last 17 frames, but has never pitched the Phillies well. In 10 games, including eight starts (Geez, when did those happen, in some alternate reality?), Vargas is 1-3 with a 6.49 ERA. The Phillies counter with Adam Eaton, who enters the night 3-3 with a 7.43 ERA. The right-hander has been a disappointment so far, but pitched a workman-like effort last week in Arizona, allowing three runs on seven hits over seven innings.
What to watch: I need to see Eaton command his breaking ball better and keep his fastball down. It’s a warm night, and depending on how the wind is swirling, balls could be flying all over the place. With Eaton on the hill, no need for Abraham Nunez to start at third to backup a flyball right-hander and flail away at the plate against a righty. Let’s see if Wes Helms can get his first home run tonight, even if it’s a cheap one like Johnny Estrada's last night. Greg Dobbs is swinging a hot bat and should start at first. With Eaton going, it means we’ll likely see Geoff Jenkins, who totally killed the Phillies last season (11-25 (.440), 9 RBI, 1 HR).
Best of the press notes: In their last 31 games against the NL Central, the Phillies are 22-9 (.710), dating to last season.
Minor league players of the week: Bubba Nelson, RHP, Double-A Reading: 2 G, 9 IP, 9 K, 2 BB, 1 H, 0 ER, 0.00 ERA; Lou Collier, OF, 21 AB, .524 BA, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 1 SB, 11 H. (Editor’s Note: Lou Collier’s Wikipedia listing is the only place Beerleaguer is referenced in the entire online encyclopedia. Check it out here.)