Team aces Brandon Webb and Cole Hamels square off in the series finale between the Diamondbacks and Phillies, a day after Adam Eaton’s embarrassing performance.
Eaton (3-8) allowed eight runs on seven hits over 3 2-3 innings, the critical damage coming at the hands of opposing pitcher Randy Johnson. Johnson’s two-out, RBI double opened the door to an eight-run inning. Eaton has now allowed 16 runs on 17 hits in his last two starts, so now the Phillies are forced to mull even more questions about their starting rotation. After the game, manager Charlie Manuel indicated that the status of Eaton, along with Brett Myers and J.A. Happ, is very much up in the air as the team heads into the All-Star break.
Beerleaguer: Eaton is weak. I've never seen situations get into a pitcher's head the way they do with Eaton. You can actually see it happening. Big Unit’s at bat takes the cake; it’s Adam Eaton in a nutshell.
Eaton doesn’t trust his pitches, and there’s good reason. Most nights, his fastball doesn't move. Where this really shows up is first-pitch strikes, and I think it's one of the reasons why he's a wreck early in the game. Kind of like doubting yourself on hole No. 1 and topping your drive to the ladies tees. Yesterday, only 10 of 21 first pitches went for strikes. So he nibbles with other stuff, which he also can't locate consistently. His breaking ball is a step below that of Brett Myers. I’d even say Eaton lacks an out pitch. In Unit’s at bat, he started him with a breaking ball off the plate, then tried putting him away with a breaking ball with the count full, which hung out over the plate. Just a terrible shame to come up this small against a short-handed lineup.
Game chat: A division lead at the all-star break is meaningless. Part of me wouldn’t mind seeing it vanish. It would be a suitable consequence for a month of bad baseball. Readers are grousing about the number of Mets fans who’ve popped off in our threads recently. Mets fans are rightfully excited. It's been over a month since the last time we felt that way about the Phils. What's that? Ryan Howard is leading the league in homers and RBIs? Couldn't care less, frankly. Twenty-five years of individual glory, no titles, will do that. They have major issues. The Mets are finally getting the kind of pitching they were supposed to get all season. Meanwhile, another Phillies starter has unraveled. I'd wager Eaton's chances of righting the ship are less than 50 percent. First pitch is 1:35 today. Discuss it here.
Transaction: Right-handed reliever Joe Bisenius was recalled by the Phillies, and left-hander R.J. Swindle, who pitched parts of three innings yesterday, was optioned back to Triple-A. Bisenius had been pitching for Double-A Reading and was already on the 40-man roster. The move adds a fresh body, and Swindle was getting hammered by right-handed hitters. Bisenius earned a cup of coffee with the club at the beginning of 2007. This season in Reading and Lehigh Valley, he combined to go 2-4 with a 4.78 ERA. Swindle appeared in three games, allowing nine hits and four earned runs in 4 2-3 innings. He departs with a 7.71 ERA and few encouraging signs he can fool Major League hitters.