As the Phillies opened spring training there was a lot of discussion about a competition for the role of fifth starter that many saw as simply lip service. Whether it was or not, they’ve got one now. Adam Eaton struggled again yesterday. Over two spring training starts he’s allowed seven runs in four innings on ten hits. And there’s something wrong with his back.

If Eaton’s opened the door, nobody has knocked it down in the early going. No Durbin, Chad or JD. No man, Outman or Youman. Blackey’s been good. And Segovia. Carrasco’s been good but he’s probably too young. Benson won’t have to do much on his start against minor leaguers tomorrow to get people excited. But you have to believe he’s still a long way away.

The Phils lost to the Devil Rays yesterday, falling 6-4 in a game that was shortened by rain to five and a half innings. They are 4-5 in spring training.

Eaton got the start for the Phils and Akinori Iwamura hit his second pitch out for a solo home run. Eaton would go two innings, allowing four runs on five hits. Four of the five hits went for extra-bases. Iwamura’s home run, two doubles and a triple. Chad Durbin followed Eaton and went three innings, allowing two runs on three hits. Given his experience you would think that Chad Durbin would be near the top of the list of guys who could capitalize on Eaton’s struggles, but early the numbers just haven’t been good.

Offensively the Phillies got two-run homers from Coste and Utley. They played what I guess their opening day lineup would be against a righty in slots one through seven — Rollins, Victorino, Utley, Howard, Burrell, Jenkins, Feliz. Ruiz would be next in the eighth spot is my guess. Howard had two more hits, he’s hitting .455 in the early going.

The Phils play Tampa Bay again today. They will also play three more innings to make up for the ones the lost yesterday.

This article says that Eaton still has the inside track to be the fifth starter. It also says that Charlie Manuel sees guys falling off of buildings. Every day? Can other people see the guys falling of the building? Not sure if that’s like seeing dead people or what, but hopefully someone in the Phillies’ organization has dead Bruce Willis on speed-dial just in case.

This seems to suggest it’s a mystery to Don Fehr why the Phillies don’t pay Cole Hamels more than they have to. I, on the other hand, am having little problem understanding that. The fact that Hamels will make about one-sixteenth of what Adam Eaton makes this season is preposterous. But it’s the fault of the system. The suggestion the Phillies should give their employees hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars that they don’t have to in a please-like-me gesture doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.