This should just be accepted at this point. Does this team know how to jump on a pitcher and hold a lead the entire game?
Looking at the last two seasons that answer has to be no. The Philadelphia Phillies won 48 of their 89 games by coming from behind at some point in the game.
2008: no different. The Phillies moved back to .500 tonight and now have four comeback wins out of seven wins total.
The Phillies have the perfect recipe for come from behind success—the recipe goes as follows:
First: You have to have okay-to-subpar starting pitching. Your starters must be prone to giving up early runs and overall three to five runs per start. Check.
Second: Your must have relief pitching that's going to blow games and put you a run down late in the game. Double Check.
Third: You have to have a premier offense in the league. That offense must be able to work pitchers. Even if the offense doesn't get to the pitcher early in the game, it must beat him up late. The offense must create match up problems for bullpens. Triple Check.
Fourth: The team has to have a desire to fight and never give up. For the Phillies, it's obvious they have the confidence and the never-say-die attitude. Quadruple Check.
Fifth: Versatility and good players off the bench. The last two years the Phillies have gotten timely hitting from guys like Greg Dobbs, Michael Bourn, Jason Werth, Chris Coste, Chris Snelling, and Wes Helms. Quintiple Check.
The Phillies are never out of game because of their offense.
Look at the Phillies' first win. Down 6-1 going into the sixth inning, the Phillies manufactured six runs during their third time through the lineup against Jason Bergmann.
But back to tonight, tonight's hero: Pedro Feliz.
The man has been offensively challenged in 2008 until tonight. Chalk up three hits for the second 30-plus-year-old Giants third basemen to play for the Phillies in the last handful of years. Feliz was the only Phillie to hit Shawn Chacon for awhile.
Adam Eaton's line looks pretty good, but it's a little deceptive. He went six innings, gave up seven hits, two walks, three runs, and three strikeouts.
I couldn't watch this game, but I had the MLB gameday up, and I was tracking his location. When he was giving up base runners the ball was staying up in the zone. Houston hit a lot of flyballs early, but Eaton started to get the ball on the ground as the game went on.
When he got the ball up in the zone last year, hitters victimized him with a lot of home runs. This year, Eaton has kept the ball down, minus the early part of tonight's game, and he's only given up one long ball all year.
This will be Eaton's key all year. If he keeps the ball down, he's tough to beat. He's got some really nasty stuff that he has to continue to control. When he starts hanging his stuff, he throws some of the most hittable pitches in all of baseball.
Through three starts for Eaton, so far so good. If I'm Manager Charlie Manuel, I'll take three straight quality starts and a 4.12 ERA any day from the guy who essentially had to win his starting job out of spring training.
Interesting note: All three of Adam Eaton's starts have been 4-3 finals with the Phillies only winning one of those games.