Good morning: Eaton's back, plus -- want to make $300? Ryan Howard can help

One of the few places in America where you can drink Rolling Rock at a bar and face the inherent danger of getting hit in the back of the head with a Ryan Howard opposite field jack.

I woke up this morning with a gut feeling, and it had nothing to do with the stone crabs I downed last night (if you are ever in the Clearwater area, drop by Frenchy's original cafe. . .it is different from Frenchy's on the beach). For some reason, I think today will be the day that someone vying for the No. 5 spot in the rotation actually steps up and gives his coaches and manager something to be happy about.

And, yes, I think that guy will be Adam Eaton.

Call me crazy. You wouldn't be the first. Eaton makes his first start in nine days today against the Twins at Bright House Field. I will be there, but because we do not have a paper tomorrow, I will not get a chance to wax poetic on it in newsprint (check the blog, though). I could be completely off base. Eaton could go out there and pull every muscle in his back, or give up 15 runs through 1 1/3. But I'll go out on a limb and say he is going to pitch well.

I have absolutely no scientific basis for making this proclamation. But the odds have to be in my favor, don't they?


Speaking of odds. . .

I won the home run derby and all I got was this lousy pair of silver scissors.Want to make a quick 300 dollars? Ryan Howard can help. Just hop a flight to Vegas, take a cab to the nearest sports book, and plop a Benjamin Franklin down on the big fella to win the 2008 Major League home run title. recently released its odds for the home run chase. And Mr. Howard is currently the favorite, going off at +300 (in gambler's lingo, that means a $1 bet pays $3)

Some others:

Alex Rodriguez 4/1
Prince Fielder 6/1
Albert Pujols 10/1
Adam Dunn 11/1
David Ortiz 12/1
Mark Teixeira 12/1



Spend your 0.75 cents, people.

Here's what you'll get:

1. A piece from yours truly about Charlie Manuel's frustration with his team. He's going to have a talk with his boys pretty soon. Still, it's too early to panic: Starters will each get 3 more appearances and hitters will get upwards of 50 more at-bats.

2. Some great college basketball coverage.

3. Much more. . .