The Phillies begin the West Coast leg of their 10-day, 10-game road trip tonight when they open a four-game series in San Francisco. Adam Eaton (2-2, 7.71 ERA) goes against Matt Cain (1-1, 1.54 ERA).
Preview: The list of grievances against the Phillies keeps piling up, the latest being the half truths about broken down closer Tom Gordon. The Phils are off to a 12-15 start, and frankly, have been irritating almost every step of the way. There’s no way to sugar coat it; It’s been pretty ugly. Fans, ready to embrace them, labored through a miserable 4-11 start, but still came out in droves during the latest home stand. While the team managed to claw back toward .500, they're still suffering through a steady diet of sub-standard pitching, poor play, a lack of timely hitting and dubious decision-making.
Optimism has faded. Not completely, but the excitement surrounding this team as a possible playoff contender has taken a hit. One reason is that tonight’s starter, Adam Eaton, has been awful. Eaton lasted just 4 1-3 innings and allowed seven runs in Saturday’s loss to Florida. Perhaps a return to the West Coast will make it more comfortable for him to throw strikes, and not the kind he's been throwing; the kind that hang there like priceless art.
Eaton will be opposed by 22-year-old right-hander Matt Cain. Cain has been strong in five starts, albeit a bit on the wild side (23/17 K/BB ratio). The former first-round pick is starting to draw comparisons to a young Roger Clemens. He has allowed one run or less in his last four starts.
Other stuff: Barry Bonds hit home run No. 743 yesterday and now trails Hank Aaron by 12. Looking at the schedule, it's possible the record could fall in Philadelphia when the Phillies host the Giants from June 1 through 4. Bonds has 63 career home runs against the Phillies, his third-highest total against any team. The Phillies have won 10 of their last 12 meetings with the Giants, including four of six in San Francisco.