Thursday, June 26, 2008

Phillies Eaton Humble Pie

The win that the Phillies recorded Tuesday began to look like only a blip on the radar, as once again a reasonable performance from a Phillies starter failed to overcome the handicap of a sleeping lineup when the Phillies were shut out yesterday afternoon by a score of 5-0.

Phillies starter Adam Eaton, who has been inconsistent this year, did not begin the game encouragingly. He allowed a leadoff walk, then two runs came in on a double and single by Ryan Sweeney and Jack Cust before he could escape the inning.

Starting with the second, Eaton settled down stopped giving up runs, but it began to seem as if, once again, this would not be enough. Oakland's starter, the talented but injury-prone Rich Harden, pitched superbly. He epitomized "painting the corners," consistently throwing strikes that no Phillie could seem to get good wood on. In fact, it can be said that through the first half of the game he literally could not have pitched better. It was only a Shane Victorino single in the fifth that broke up a budding perfect game and drew a round of applause from the small crowd.

Victorino, in fact, was the only Phillie who was capable of getting a hit off of Harden. His second single in the seventh and the triple that Pat Burrell managed in the ninth off of Alan Embree were Philadelphia's only two other hits. The triple barely missed clearing the wall to give Burrell another home run and put his team on the board; he legged his second triple of the season (ironic in the ninth inning since he is usually removed for a pinch runner by then) and could not be driven in.

Eaton's pitching after giving up the initial two runs was generally good, and he showed the ability to work out of a couple of jams. However, he gave up a solo home run to Carlos Gonzales in the sixth. Charlie Manuel had enough confidence in his recovery to pitch him through seven, but when Tom Gordon relived him in the eighth, he allowed two runs, essentially driving the nail into the Phillies' coffin.

Rich Harden deserves a lot of credit for an excellent pitching performance in this game, and Adam Eaton gets tough-luck loss. The Phillies, however, haven't been scoring runs lately, and this game was just yet another demonstration. The sooner they can see a way out of this funk, the better off they will be.

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