The Phillies will forego pushing right-hander Adam Eaton’s turn back to the Mets series and will start him tonight at 7:05 p.m. against the lesser Reds. In other words, Eaton needs to produce, like he's supposed to.
Preview: I’ve made a bad habit of looking ahead to next series and hope the Phils aren’t doing the same. A loss here would represent a huge disappointment, at home, to one of the worst teams in baseball. Not to make excuses for the pitching, but I continue to believe these sweltering nights at Citizens Bank Park make it anyone’s game if pitchers aren't 100 percent on top of their game. Scores like 11-4, 9-6 ... tonight will be a similar total with a battle of mediocre starting pitchers.
Sadly, there’s no other way to describe Adam Eaton (7-5, 5.63 ERA). Signed to a lucrative, long-term deal, the right-hander is pitching like you’d expect the last man in your rotation to pitch on a non-contending team. He’s allowed four or more runs nine times, including his last outing, a 5 1-3, six-run effort in St. Louis. This month, he’s 2-2 with a 5.40 ERA and 15/12 K/BB ratio. Bleh. The Reds counter with right-hander Matt Belilse (5-5, 4.73 ERA). He’s been good about walks (21 walks), but is apparently a two-pitch, fastball/breaking ball location pitcher – the kind the heart of the Phillies’ lineup should be able to handle. This is a must-win game for the Phightins, resting square on the shoulders of Eaton.
Forecast: Thunderstorms are expected to besiege the Delaware Valley all evening. Chance of rain is 70 percent, with rain heavy at times.
Give me a "B!": Once J.C. Romero is called up from minor league workouts, as expected, the Phillies will have had a J.A., J.C. and J.D. on the club this season.
Buerhle close to resigning: People familiar with the situation are saying left-hander Mark Buerhle is close to a four-year extension worth $50 million that could also include an option year. The Mets, Braves and Red Sox reportedly had interest in trading for the left-hander.
Minor league outfielder signed: The Phillies have inked outfielder Shaun Boyd and added him to Clearwater two days ago. This is significant only because Boyd is a former 2000 first-round pick (13th overall) of the St. Louis Cardinals. In seven minor league seasons with the Cards, the 25-year-old center fielder is a lifetime .275 hitter with a .727 OPS, decent speed and no power. He spent part of last season with Triple-A Memphis and hit .188 there.
One day I’ll need to research how many non-prospect, high-round picks the Phils have stashed away in their system. Carl (C.J.) Henry, who’s one of them, has upped his batting average to .180 since the last update.