Saturday, April 5, 2008

Phillies waste Eaton's quality start

I already regret praising the Phillies bullpen in my previous post. The Phils lost 4-3 to the Reds, with the bullpen and offense squandering an actual quality start by Adam Eaton. Eaton was unable to hold a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the 8th, giving up a home run to the mighty Corey Patterson, and Chad Durbin walked two batters and gave up the game winning run on a strange final play. There were runners on 2nd and 3rd and one out in the bottom of the 9th, and Reds catcher Paul Bako hit a slow roller to shortstop Jimmy Rollins, who bobbled the ball and then threw wildly to first base. Rollins made no attempt to get the runner out at home, opting instead to try to get a meaningless out at first. It was unlikely that a throw to the plate would have gotten the runner out, but why didn't Rollins even try to make the play? Of course, the better question is why didn't the Phillies intentionally walk Bako to load the bases with one out, and try to get the next batter to hit into a double play? Such are the maddening decisions of Charlie Manuel.

The Phillies offense was mostly shut down by Reds ace Aaron Harang. The game was tied 2-2 when Harang was pulled for Kent Mercker, and Ryan Howard subsequently hit his first home run of the season, a mammoth shot to center field, off the lefty Mercker.

Prior to today's game, there wasn't a Phillie fan out there who expected Adam Eaton to be able to out-duel, or even match, Aaron Harang. The fact that he did, and the Phillies lost the game, was frustrating. The Phils had their chance to win this game, but they came up short. The bullpen isn't entirely to blame, but Durbin struggled to get anyone out today.

The Phillies continue their series with the Reds tomorrow at 1:15. They will send ace Brett Myers to the mound, while the Reds counter with 24 year-old Edinson Volquez.

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