Adam Eaton has made it perfectly clear over the course of the past year that he has never lost confidence in himself, so his performance today against the Reds might not have been important from a personal standpoint. But for his teammates and his manager, it was huge, and they said as much after the Phillies 4-3 loss to the Reds.
"He did a hell of a job," manager Charlie Manuel said.
I've already heard from a couple of emailers who think Manuel should have taken Eaton out after that seventh inning, but I don't think there's any question that the right move was made. Eaton had fewer than 80 pitches after the seventh and had retired 16 of his previous eight batters. Add to that the amount of work the bullpen has put in this first week, and the fact that Ryan Madson was coming off a 23-pitch outing and J.C. Romero had pitched in all four of the Phillies games, and it made sense to keep Eaton in there.
"That was very encouraging to see him pitch like that," Manuel said. "Without a doubt he can build on that."
Other notes and observations:
1) INTENTIONAL WALK?: There is an argument that can be made that Manuel should have intentionally walked Paul Bako to load the bases and set up a double play and a force at home in the bottom of the ninth. Chad Durbin had walked the first two batters, putting runners on first and second with no out. Norris Hopper than sacrificed them over to second and third. That left first base open. Many managers would have signaled for intentional pass. But according to Durbin, the plan was to pitch carefully to Bako, which Durbin did. But Bako hit an outside pitch to short stop, and Jimmy Rollins couldn't get it out of his glove in time to go home.
"The pitch was probably a foot outside," Durbin said. "I expected him to take it and just walk him and put a guy on first and put a double play in order. He swung at it and put it in a perfect place."
2) HOWARD'S BLAST: Early on, Ryan Howard sent a couple of shots to the warning track, which foreshadowed his monster blast in the eighth inning to center that gave the Phils a 3-2 lead. The shot measured at 479 feet - tied for the sixth longest in Great American Ballpark History. It was Howard's first of the year. "
That was good for him," Manuel said. "That was very good. He hit a bomb. He smoked the heck out of it. It's good for him to get that first one out of the way. That's always good. He should be OK now."
3) FLYIN' HAWAIIAN: We got a little taste of the speed Shane Victorino brings to the center field position today. In the third inning, he hit a ball in the gap in left center and flew all the way to third with a stand-up triple. Later, in the sixth, he chased down a well-hit ball to deep center field to rob Jeff Keppinger of a double.
4) TOMORROW, TOMORROW: RHP Edinson Volquez makes his Reds debut against Brett Myers.
5) MONDAY, MONDAY: Should be an afternoon delight with both team's aces on the hill. Bronson Arroyo squares off against Cole Hamels.
5) RECORDS: Phils are now 2-3. Cincinnati is 3-2.