Adam Eaton: Bombs Away
What's the difference between Adam Eaton and a good pitcher? Two things: mistakes and line drives. A good pitcher minimizes both. Adam Eaton minimizes neither.
Despite gaining the win last night, the Phils' No 4 starter and his shortfalls were on full display. Well, at least we know why he isn't in the bullpen. Giving up all 4 runs on his first spin through the lineup, Eaton was hit hard. He served up a HR to Craig Biggio on the first pitch of the game on a tailing fastball that came back over the plate. He then had Biggio 0-2 in the second only to throw 4 straight balls to load the bases and give way to Mark Loretta's 2-RBI double. After getting on with a single in the bottom of the 2nd and scoring on a triple by J-Roll, Eaton proceeded to give the lead right back by giving up a towering HR to Lance Berkmann. Clearly, despite his wide array of pitches, Eaton is at best, a marginal improvement over a pitcher like Ryan Franklin. The week before in Washington DC, Eaton actually pitched fairly well, but a lapse to Brian Schneider with 2 on and 2 out produced a three-run shot over the right-center wall in cavernous RFK stadium.
For the season, Eaton has given up 4 HRs in 23.2 innings, not a good ratio, but not Eaton's biggest problem. The worse part is that Eaton's ERA is above 6 while opponents are hitting just .259 against him. That is not a great average, but is a mark of a pitcher who gives up alot of extra base hits. It also may point to a location pitcher who's command comes and goes, resulting in a lower average, but more for extra bases. last night, 4 of Eaton's surrendered hits were for extra bases.
The last piece to consider is that, while Eaton's ERA will surely come down from above 6, it may not dip below 5. Eaton's career BAA is .260, but his last two seasons were at .275 in the NL and .299 in the AL. Injuries aside, Eaton shoudl be a major concern in the rotation this year -- with Brett Myers out of the rotation, the team will simply need to score more and more consistantly to win games thown by starters who can get bombed at any second.
On the other hand, Eaton appears to be a competent at the plate with a bat, any ways.