Quality starts, the Bullpen and Adam Eaton.
The Phillies have played 23 games so far this season. Of those 23 games, the starters have had 12 quality starts. For those who don’t know what a quality start is, it means that a starter has gone at least six full innings, and has given up three runs or less during those innings. Ten of those quality starts had occurred before the Phils second series against the Mets.
The important of quailty starts is mainly this: the deeper that the starters can go into games that they are starting, the longer they can keep the bullpen out of the game until they are needed for the late innings. This gives the manager a large numbers of options on how to use his relief staff than he would if the starters were constantly getting knocked out early in the game, and forcing him to bring in those relievers that make up his middle relief corps.
With that said, the Phillies present relief corps, believe it or not, is leading the National League with a 2.60 ERA. That’s right, the Phils relievers are leading the league. Well, surprise, surprise, surprise. I was expecting them to be more towards the middle of the pack, not the ones leading it. Well, guess we’ll see how long that’ll last, won’t we? Now if the pitching staff, as a whole, can get their ERA down from the present 3.68, fifth best in the National League, the Phillies might really go somewhere.
With that said, Adam Eaton, tonight’s starter, have so far pitched four games during the season, of which three has actaually been quailty starts. That’s right. Three quality starts. He has pitched at least six innings and gave up at least three EARNED runs. (Sadly, that has been the numbers of runs that he have given up in each of those games, all earned, and in at least two he was the losing pitcher of record before the Phils rally late to get him off the hook.) In his last start he only pitched five innings and gave up four earned runs, but all of the runs came in the sixth when both he and Chad Durbin were together unable to keep the Mets off of the scoreboard before Durbin was finally able to put the fire out. That seems to be Eaton’s luck so far this year. He pitched good enough to win his first start, but he couldn’t keep the Reds from scoring the tying run late in the game, which led to a lost in the 9th; the Phils got him off the hook by coming back from behind against the Mets on April 10 before finally losing; he was the pitcher of record against Houston on the 15th before the Phils came from behind in the ninth to win that game; and I’d already mentioned what happened during his last outing against the Mets. Now, he’s going to be the starter against the Pirates tonight. Hopefully the Phils will score some runs early and often against the Bucos to get him the victory, as Adam deserves a victory in the worst possible way.