Friday, March 21, 2008

Phillies Pitching Turning Around

Maybe we can all relax about the Phillies pitching now. Since giving up 11 runs to the Minnesota Twins last Saturday, the Phillies pitchers have given up 13 total runs in their last 6 games. That's an average of 2.2 runs per game. That span of games included good outings by each member of the rotation: Brett Myers, Cole Hamels, Jamie Moyer, Kyle Kendrick and the most recent one today by the beleaguered Adam Eaton.

Eaton pitched 5 1/3 innings against the Twins on Friday, giving up one run and scattering 4 hits. It's his second straight solid outing, and it lowered his ERA, which had recently been in double digits, to a reasonable 5.84. The Phillies, who benched most of their star offensive players in the game, ended up beating the Twins 3-2 when Carlos Ruiz drove in the winning run on a sacrifice fly in the ninth inning.

Eaton's solid outing comes on the heels of Kyle Kendrick's best start of the spring. On Thursday, Kendrick pitched 5 scoreless innings against the Pirates, giving up only 2 hits. Even though it was just the Pirates, it was an encouraging sign for a guy who hasn't looked confident on the mound all spring.

It appears that the Phillies rotation is finally starting to settle in and pitch they way we know they can. The Phillies offense is going to put up a ton of runs, so they don't need the pitching to be lights out every game, but it makes things a lot easier when you don't have to face five run deficits in the early innings after Eaton or Kendrick gets shelled.

The last pitcher to get hit hard, Chad Durbin, will start tomorrow's game against his old team, the Detroit Tigers. Durbin is going to need to shut down the Tigers potent offense if he wants any shot at the 5th spot in the rotation. Even then, it might be too late, as Adam Eaton may have already sewn it up with his performance today.

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