LAST WEDNESDAY, Jerad Eickhoff gave up three runs in the first inning against the Mets. When he returned to the dugout, he pondered what he would have changed about his performance.
Of his 40 pitches in the inning, Eickhoff could only think of one that he would like to do over.
"I sat there and said, honestly, I'd probably take back one pitch, and that was the double to [Michael] Cuddyer," said Eickhoff, the 25-year-old righthander acquired from Texas in the Cole Hamels trade. "I honestly felt in control, like I knew what I was doing with my delivery and everything."
Eickhoff heightened expectations in his debut at Miami on Aug. 21, tossing six shutout innings and allowing five hits in a 7-1 Phillies win.
The red-hot, NL East-leading Mets provided a formidable opponent for Eickhoff in his second start, testing his mental fortitude in the first frame after leadoff hitter Curtis Granderson reached second base on an error by centerfielder Odubel Herrera.
Eickhoff calmed down considerably in the innings that followed, retiring 16 straight batters and recording six strikeouts before leaving after six innings.
"I was extremely calm," he said. "After that [first inning], I kind of put that behind me, went out there and just continued to do exactly what I was doing in the first inning.
"I executed pitches all game and it turned out to be the way it did."
For his third start, Eickhoff will face those same Mets tonight, only at Citi Field instead of Citizens Bank Park.
He intends to make adjustments.
"There's several things I learned, whether it's a count, or a pitch to throw in a certain count, or a sequence to use," he said of pitching against the Mets' lineup. "I picked up several things from last outing, especially from those later innings when I really got settled in and got to use all of my pitches."
Jerome Williams' memory serves him well.
When asked to recall his last relief outing before tossing two scoreless inning on Friday against San Diego, the 33-year-old righthander rattled off the date as if it was his birthday.
"June 30, 2014, with the Houston Astros," he said.
That particular outing was Williams' finale with the Astros. He was released and signed by Texas, making two starts with the Rangers before again being released and picked up by the Phillies in early August.
Williams had been a weak link in the Phillies' starting rotation this season, going 4-10 with a 6.13 ERA, before interim manager Pete Mackanin moved him to the bullpen last week.
The 6-3, 262-pounder pitched two scoreless innings against the Padres on Friday in his first bullpen outing in more than a year.
"I was kind of nervous in the beginning because I hadn't done it in a long time, but once I started throwing and pitching it kind of fell back into a mold where I was with the Angels," said Williams, who had 46 starts and 33 relief appearances with Los Angeles from 2011-13. "Everyone thinks I'm a starter's starter, but if I'm in the bullpen, I have a bullpen mentality because I've already been there."