Sunday, July 13, 2008


When the headline says "Eaton Takes An Awful Beating" but the text says the pitcher "hasn't been as bad as the numbers might suggest" you have what we call in the modern world a "disconnect". Fill-in beat writer Sam Carchidi suggests we take away Eaton's four worst starts and his numbers are respectable, even better than the league average. As far as I know, however, you can't take a mulligan in baseball, especially for an entire outing.

What we all know is this: Eaton has a nasty habit of having at least one bad inning (yesterday he spread the effect over a few of them) and invariably it is the opening one. He cannot avoid putting his team in an immediate hole or, as he showed us yesterday, giving up two runs out of the gate, watching his mates even the score and then [presumably] saying to himself, "Well, we can't have this" and immediately surrendering six more capped by a two run double by that feared slugger Randy Johnson.

So the debate resumes (did it ever leave off?): do the Phillies drop him from the rotation? Carchidi advises we resist the call to summon J.A. Happ back from the Lehigh Valley and consider Eaton's overall performance. I'd bet if the other 24 guys on the roster were polled in a secret ballot there would be strong sentiment for picking up that phone.

For his own part Eaton believes he can sort things out. One thing I have to admire about Eaton is that he doesn't attempt to sugarcoat his failures. How could he when they come with such certainty and frequency? He knows when he stinks and he believes he can sort things out up here, in the big leagues, and not down on the farm where another member of the Phillies' opening day rotation, Brett Myers, is attempting to recover his confidence. Speaking of Myers, he's hardly been scintillating at AAA, giving up a home run to the first batter he faced yesterday but settling down to pitch well after that. Still, when he says he isn't worried about where the ball goes after it leaves the bat, only where it goes after it leaves his hand, you have to wonder whether this "disconnect" problem is contagious.

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