Friday, May 23, 2008

Phillies Hit Valverde, But Not Hard Enough

Adam Eaton must be wondering at this point what a guy has to do to acquire a win in Major League Baseball these days. Making it as far as being a starting pitcher on a Major League Baseball team hasn't got him any farther than you or me this season, and neither did the Phillies' 4-3 loss in Houston last night, although Eaton pitched quite credibly for most of the game.

Nobody expected the game to be much of pitchers' duel, as neither Eaton nor Houston's Brandon Backe had been performing especially spectacularly of late. Nonetheless, the game remained tied at one into the seventh, a tense situation any fan that knew Adam Eaton for the not-always-lights-out starter that he is knew it couldn't last.

The Phillies' early run, which gave them a slim lead for a while, was provided by a solo home run off the bat of Pat Burrell, who also delivered a double later in the game. At this point in the season he is not as absurdly hot as he was earlier on, but it is only fair to apply the word "consistent" to somebody who has been delivering as regularly as he has. Congratulations Pat. Listening to the Houston announcers' coverage of the game I found it laughable when the suggestion of intentionally walking him with men of second and third was raised. Howard himself called his supposed recuperation into question, going 0 for 4 and striking out in his typically frustrating fashion in a number of key situations.

However, the biggest thorn in the Phillies' sides was not the dreaded Lance Berkman, but rather Hunter Pence, whose two home runs gave the Astro's what they needed for a win.

Philadelphia mounted what looked like it could have developed into a comeback in the ninth; Pat Burrell scoring on a ball off the bat of Pedro Feliz that seemed to have hit Houston closer Jose Valverde. For a while the game lost importance as it appeared that Valverde may seriously have been hurt, but it turned out that in fact he was only grazed, and he wound up saving the game after surrendering an RBI double to Jimmy Rollins. In all, a near miss. A good performance from Adam Eaton was not quite enough to stop Hunter Pence on a good day, and the Astros, a strong team this year, took home the win by a 4-3 margin.

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