Archive for April 5th, 2008

Back to the drawing board for those looking for a cure for Eaton’s woes as pitching well proves not to be the answer

Adam Eaton gave the Phils far more than any fan could have reasonably expected this afternoon. He pitched deep into the eighth inning. He gave the weary pen some much-needed rest. Most importantly, perhaps, he gave us all a little bit of hope with his first start of 2008 that the Adam Eaton of 2007 is gone forever. That in itself might be enough.

For today, at least, it’s going to have to be. The Phillies lost. Eaton was up 3-2 with two outs in the eighth when Corey Patterson muscled one out to the opposite field to tie the game. The Reds pushed across the game-winner in the bottom of the ninth.

The Phillies lost to the Cincinnati Reds this afternoon, falling 4-3 to drop to 2-3 on the season.

Eaton got the start for the Phillies and went 7 2/3 innings, allowing three runs on six hits and four walks. Just two of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and a home run. He struck out two.

Eaton’s first pitch of the season was to Corey Patterson and hit the dirt about three feet in front of the plate. Ball one. Patterson walked on four pitches and got a huge jump with Jeff Keppinger at the plate, stealing second easily. Keppinger hit one to short that Rollins took for the first out, Patterson moved to third on the play. Ken Griffey flew to left and Patterson scored from third to put the Reds up 1-0. Eaton started Brandon Phillips with a pretty breaking ball and went on to strike him out to end the inning with the no-hitter intact.

Adam Dunn busted it up by leading off the second with a line drive single into right. Eaton walked the next hitter, Edwin Encarnacion, before Scott Hatteberg singled into center. Victorino threw home but Dunn beat it and the Reds led 2-0. Paul Bako lined softly to third for the first out and it brought up the pitcher Harang with one out and men on first and second. Harang bunted too hard back to Eaton, who threw to third for the first out before Dobbs relayed to first to complete the double-play that ended the inning.

Eaton threw a 1-2-3 third, getting a nice play from Dobbs for the second out on a ball Keppinger hit down the line. Dobbs made a great play and then dribbled a throw to Howard, who did a nice job with the stretch to help get the out.

Phillips led off the fourth with a walk but Coste threw him out trying to steal second with Dunn at the plate for the first out. Nice throw by Coste. Dunn hit it hard, but right at Utley playing the shift for the second out. Encarnacion struck out swinging for the third out.

Bako singled to left with one out in the fifth. Harang tried to bunt him along but popped it up to Howard for the second out. Patterson was next and hit a ball slowly down the first base line. Eaton did a dive/slide thing for it and flipped to Howard to end the inning. Nifty play by Eaton. Second time in the game Harang’s inability to bunt the runner over hurt the Reds.

Eaton threw a 1-2-3 sixth. Griffey crushed a ball to center for the second, but Victorino tracked it down.

And a 1-2-3 seventh. Nobody crushed anything anywhere. Another pretty breaking ball started Encarnacion’s at-bat before Encarnacion flew to left to end for the second out of the inning.

Bako started the eighth with a single into center. Joey Votto was next and Eaton got him to hit into a double-play to short that cleared the bases with two down. Patterson was next and mauled a ball out the opposite way, typing the game at 3-3. Keppinger was next and hit a screamer down to third, off of Feliz’s glove and then high in the air. A double. Eaton walked Griffey intentionally and in came Flash to pitch to Phillips. Gordon struck Phillips out looking at a beautiful 0-2 curve ball to end the inning.

Chad Durbin started the ninth for the Phils with the score tied at 3-3 and walked the lefty Dunn to start the inning. Romero was the guy to pitch to Dunn, but no doubt he was unavailable after pitching on three straight days. Ryan Freel ran for Dunn at first and Encarnacion followed with another walk. Norris Hopper hit for Francisco Cordero and bunted the runners to second and third. Bako was next and the Phils elected to pitch to him and bring the infield in. Votto, who had hit into a double-play his last time up, was on deck. Bako hit a ball slowly between short and third. Rollins charged and fielded and started to throw home but couldn’t find the handle. After the misfire on the attempt to throw home, Rollins didn’t have a chance to get Freel and threw to first for reasons unknown. Bako was safe with a single and Freel scored to give the Reds a 4-3 win.

Tough luck for Eaton, who pitched great. Gordon got a big out in the eighth. Durbin has been really good so far this season, but the two walks to start the ninth really hurt the Phils. Durbin threw 20 pitches so he’s probably unavailable again tomorrow, but the long outing by Eaton got the pen some much-needed rest.

The Phillies’ lineup against righty Aaron Harang went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Jenkins (7) Dobbs (8) Coste. Dobbs gets his first start of the year at third against the tough righty. Coste catches Eaton.

Rollins led off the first with a single. Victorino followed and flew to center for the first out. Rollins stole second with Utley at the plate, but Utley drew a walk to put men on first and second for Howard. Howard hit it hard to left, but it was taken at the wall for the second out. Rollins moved to third, putting men on first and third with two down for Burrell. Burrell got down 0-2 and hit a soft fly ball into left for the third out.

Jenkins started the second with a single. Dobbs worked the count full and Jenkins took off for second. Dobbs swung through the 3-2 pitch and Jenkins was thrown out to empty the bases for Coste with two down. Coste flew out to left for the third out.

With two outs in the third, Victorino lined a ball into left-center for a triple. Utley followed and hit one to nearly the same place for a double. Victorino scored to cut the Reds’ lead to 2-1. Howard flew out to end the frame.

The Phils went 1-2-3 in the fourth and again in the fifth. Harang had retired seven in a row.

With one out in the sixth, Utley blooped a single to left and Howard followed with a walk. Burrell was next and he smashed a double into left. Utley scored to tie the game at 2-2 and Howard went to third. With Dobbs on deck having already struck out twice, Harang walked Jenkins to load the bases. Dobbs struck out on three pitches and Coste popped to Phillips in shallow center to end the inning. Phils can’t get any more after putting men on second and third with one out. Big hit for Burrell against the tough righty, but the strikeout for Dobbs when the Phils could have gone ahead in the game even with a good out hurt.

Eaton led off the seventh with the score tied at 2-2 having thrown 68 pitches. Tough call, but I think I would have gone that way too given how much work the pen has gotten early and the fact that Eaton is a pretty decent hitter. Eaton struck out and Rollins and Victorino went down behind him.

Lefty Kent Merker started the eighth with Utley and Howard due to hit for the Phils. Almost worked. Utley fouled out to first but Howard crushed one out to center for his first home run of the year, putting the Phils up 3-2. With the lefty Jenkins hitting behind Burrell, Merker stayed in to pitch to Burrell. Burrell ripped a couple of foul balls but settled for a one out walk. Taguchi ran for him at first. Jenkins smashed it to first base, but Votto started a double-play that ended the frame.

The Phils went 1-2-3 in the ninth. Werth hit for Gordon and flew to right for the third out.

The failure to get more in the sixth with the bases loaded and one out looms large in retrospect in the one-run game.

Rollins was 1-for-4.

Victorino 1-for-4 with a triple.

Utley 2-for-3 with a double and a walk.

Howard 1-for-3 with a walk and his first home run of the year.

Burrell was 1-for-3 with a double and a walk.

Jenkins 1-for-3 with a walk.

Dobbs made a nice defensive play in the third but had a miserable day at the plate, going 0-for-3.

Coste was 0-for-4.

Brett Myers faces righty Edinson Volquez tomorrow in game three of the four game set. The 24-year-old Volquez has never faced the Phillies and will be making his first start of the year. Over the last three seasons he has appeared in 20 games for the Rangers, 17 of which were starts. In 80 innings he’s gone 3-11 with a 7.20 ERA, allowing 111 hits and 42 walks. He was much better than that last year, going 2-1 with a 4.50 ERA and a 1.44 ratio for Texas in six starts.

The Phillies activated Brad Lidge from the DL and designated Tim Lahey for assignment.

Pen helps leave Reds blue

Team W-L R R/G NL Rank R OPS (NL) SB CS
CIN 2-1 11 3.67 T-10 690 (T-9) 1 0
PHI 1-2 14 4.67 7 723 (7) 0 0

Team W-L RA RA/G NL Rank RA Starter ERA Pen ERA
CIN 2-1 11 3.67 T-5 2.50 (4) 3.00 (T-5)
PHI 1-2 19 6.33 13 3.78 (10) 6.35 (14)

For the second time in two games the Phils got a weak performance from their starting pitcher and were bailed out by a tremendous effort from their bullpen and hitters. Kyle Kendrick gritted through five innings and managed to stay away from a big inning, but the bullpen was again the story of the day as they shut the Reds’ offense down for four innings in a hard place to pitch after Kendrick exited with nobody out in the sixth. The Phils offense continued to roll as expected. Utley led the charge with two home runs and three RBI and Burrell helped put the Phils up early with a two-run blast.

The Phillies beat the Cincinnati Reds last night, winning 8-4 to improve to 2-2 on the season.

Kyle Kendrick got the start for the Phillies and went five innings, allowing four runs on eight hits and two walks. Three of the hits went for extra-bases, all doubles. He struck out one.

Kendrick started the first up 3-0. Corey Patterson was the first to face him and Patterson dumped a softly hit double down the left field line. Jeff Keppinger was next and hit one out in front of the plate that Kendrick fielded and threw to first for the first out. Patterson moved to third. Ken Griffey Jr was next and singled into left, scoring Patterson to cut the Phillies’ lead to 3-1. Brandon Phillips followed with another single that moved Griffey to second. Kendrick got Adam Dunn on a fly ball to center for the second out before he walked Edwin Encarnacion to load the bases for Joey Votto. Votto grounded back to Kendrick for the third out.

Kendrick gave up three hits and a walk in the inning and had two strikes on all four of the hitters that reached. He needed 30 pitches to get out of the inning, but avoided major damage.

He came back with a 1-2-3 second.

Keppinger started the third with a single past a diving Rollins and Griffey followed with a double that drove him home and cut the Phillies’ lead to 5-2. Phillips was next and singled in left, moving Griffey to third. With Dunn at the plate the Phils played for a double-play and they got it — Dunn hit it to second and the Phils turned two as Griffey scored from third to make the score 5-3. Encarnacion grounded back to Kendrick for the third out.

Votto started the fourth with a single and went to third when Javier Valentin followed with a double. Norris Hopper hit for Fogg and grounded out to third for the first out. Patterson was next and hit a ball to center deep enough to score Votto and cut the Phillies’ lead to 6-4. Kendrick got Keppinger to fly to center to end the inning.

Kendrick set the Reds down 1-2-3 in the fifth.

Kendrick returned to start the sixth and walked Encarnacion to start the inning. With the lefty Votto due to hit, Manuel pulled Kendrick and brought in Madson. Madson was fantastic against lefties last year and got Votto on a pop-up in shallow left field that Rollins took after a run for the first out. Valentin was next and he singled into right, moving Encarnacion to third. Paul Bako ran for Valentin at first. Madson got ahead of Ryan Freel 0-2 and threw two fastballs way up and in before missing with ball three outside. Freel fouled two balls off before he went down swinging for the second out. Patterson was next and lined softly to second to end the inning.

Madson returned for the seventh and set the Reds down 1-2-3.

Rudy Seanez threw a 1-2-3 eighth.

With the Phillies up 8-4 in the ninth, JC Romero came on for the fourth time in four games and the third day in a row. He got Bako, Freel and Patterson to end the game.

Another fantastic day for the pen. After Madson exited with nobody out in the sixth, Madson, Seanez and Romero combined to allow one hit and no walks in four shutout innings. Great outing for Madson after a shaky start in his first two appearances. Too much Romero in the early going — it’s not going to work to have him pitch every day, but he’s been great so far. Second nice appearance for Seanez in two times out. Madson is on pace to throw 175 innings in relief, Romero to make 162 relief appearances and throw 121 innings.

Error free defense from the Phils after miserable play from their defense against the Nats.

The Phillies’ lineup against righty Josh Fogg went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Jenkins (7) Feliz (8) Ruiz. Ruiz back behind the plate despite Thursday’s home run from Coste. Jenkins plays right against the righty.

Rollins led off the first with a single to right. Victorino struck out swinging for the first out — Rollins had stolen second but interference was called on Victorino and Rollins had to return to first. Utley moved Rollins to second with a walk. Before Fogg delivered a pitch to Howard he tried to pick Rollins off second and the ball got away, allowing the runners to move to second and third. Howard hit a ball to left deep enough to score Rollins and put the Phils up 1-0. Burrell was next and hammered one way out to left. 3-0. Jenkins struck out to end the frame.

The Phils went 1-2-3 in the second.

Rollins started the third with a double in the gap to left-center. Victorino bunted him to third before Utley homered just out to right to extend the Phillies’ lead to 5-1. So Victorino executes the bunt flawlessly and all it gets the Phillies is an out. Too much bunting from Victorino early in the season for me. Let him hit or let Rollins try to steal a base. Howard grounded to the shortstop, playing to the right of second with the shift, for the second out before Burrell drew a walk. Jenkins struck out for the third out.

Feliz led off the fourth and got behind 0-2 but took four straight balls to draw a walk. Ruiz singled up the middle, moving Feliz to second. Kendrick bunted them to second and third. Rollins hit a ground ball to first base for the second out. Feliz scored to put the Phillies up 6-3. Ruiz went to third, but was left there when Victorino grounded to first to end the frame.

Utley started the fifth with another home run to right, his second of the game and 100th of his career. It put the Phils up 7-4. Howard grounded to short for the first out but Burrell followed and doubled to left. Jenkins struck out and Feliz grounded to second to turn the Phillies away.

The Phils went 1-2-3 in the sixth. Kyle Kendrick hit for himself and struck out for the second out having thrown 87 pitches. He would face one batter in the bottom of the sixth, walk him, and get pulled for Madson.

The Phils went 1-2-3 in the seventh. Feliz singled with two outs in the eighth, but Ruiz followed and grounded to short for the third out.

Taguchi, who had entered in the bottom of the eighth to play left for Burrell, doubled to start the ninth and moved to third when Rollins followed with a ground ball to first. Victorino followed with a single to center and Taguchi scored to put the Phils up 8-4. Victorino stole second, his first out the year, but Utley grounded to second and Howard struck out to leave him stranded.

Rollins was 2-for-5 with a double and an RBI.

Victorino was 1-for-4 with a stolen base.

Utley was 2-for-3 with a walk, two home runs and three RBI.

Howard was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.

Burrell 2-for-3 with a double, a walk and a home run.

Jenkins was 0-for-4 and struck out three times.

Feliz was 1-for-3 and drew a walk.

Ruiz 1-for-4.

Tough matchup today as Adam Eaton faces righty Aaron Harang. After going 16-6 with a 3.73 ERA and a 1.14 ratio for the Reds last year, Harang got his first start of ’08 on Monday against the Diamondbacks and went six innings, holding Arizona to two runs on three hits and two walks. He made one start against the Phillies last season, on June 27. Former NL Centraler Geoff Jenkins has faced Harang a lot over his career. Jenkins is 9-for-39 (.231) with four doubles and a home run and 12 strikeouts against him. Feliz has also faced him a lot, he’s 2-for-18 against Harang. Eaton gets his first start of 2008 coming off a miserable 2007. He faced the Reds once last year, on June 28, and was hit hard.

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