On the heels of their Major League-leading 47th comeback win, the Phils try to gain ground in the division when they play the second of four at RFK. Adam Eaton (9-9, 6.36) and Shawn Hill (4-4, 3.01) are scheduled. Elsewhere, the Mets and Marlins meet in Miami.
Eaton by the numbers: You may want to sidle up to the trashcan. Here are the numbers on Eaton, pictured right during his winter job selling time shares. He's winless in his last eight starts. He’s pitched 6.0 or more innings in only two of his last 10. He’s 2-5 with a 7.49 ERA (61 ER, 73.1 IP) and .331 BAA since June 23. How many pitchers have been more disgraceful than Eaton this season, according to Baseball Prospectus? Twenty-three, out of 715. Putting it in perspective, Jose Mesa has him beat by 11 spots, and that’s the Detroit version.
Hill by the numbers: Another talented young Nationals pitcher completely off the radar. How does he do it? The 26-year-old throws a power sinker, leading to a 2/1 GB/FB ratio (156/78), according to STATS Inc. That would rank 7th in the NL if he hadn’t missed time with injury. The Phillies struggle with this type of pitcher, and Hill has had success against them; this will be his 5th career start against the Phils.
Romero by the numbers: Like Greg Dobbs and Jayson Werth, here’s another supporting cast member deserving special recognition. J.C. has pitched 9.2 scoreless innings over his last 13 outings. He’s only allowed 2 hits in 29 at-bats (.069) during that span. He’s holding opponents to a .054 average (2-37) over his last 17 appearances (12.2 IP).
Getting it done: Speaking of Romero, the list continues to grow among players who’re meeting or exceeding expectations. Subjectively, I’d include Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Aaron Rowand, Pat Burrell, Shane Victorino, Dobbs, Werth, Carlos Ruiz, Tadahito Iguchi, Chris Coste, Jamie Moyer, Cole Hamels, Kyle Kendrick and Romero on the list of players meeting or exceeding expectations. Players like J.D. Durbin aren't worth mentioning. I’d argue that at this point, nobody is truly underachieving with the exception of Eaton. Even the middle relief, including Tom Gordon, appears to be improving.
The depth of this list is a credit to the manager. Right now, Charlie Manuel has to be considered a strong candidate for manager of the year, whether you agree or not.
J-Roll’s chase for MVP: The press notes have been including a handy Jimmy Rollins/Lenny Dykstra breakdown, comparing Rollins' projected season in ’07 with Dykstra in ’93. Here’s the short version:
Mets/Marlins: In Florida, Pedro Martinez (2-0, 1.69) and Scott Olsen (9-14, 6.06) are scheduled in the second game of that series. Remember that Baseball Prospective list I referenced earlier? Olsen was one of the 23 pitchers below Eaton. Mets take this one.
Happy Chico Ruiz Day: Finally, be sure to check out Will Bunch’s detailed retelling of the most notorious event in Philadelphia sports history, 43 years to the day after Reds rookie journeyman Chico Ruiz stole home, triggering the infamous 10-game losing streak in 1964. Complete with pictures, graphs, links. The works. [Link]