The Phillies wrapped up their 2 game mini-series in Chicago against the White Sox tonight. Jerad Eickhoff went for the Phillies against James Shields for the White Sox. Eickhoff won that matchup, hands-down with a 71 pitch, 6 inning performance in which he gave up 2 runs on 4 hits with no walks and 2 strikeouts. One of the hits was a two-run jack by Dioner Navarro in the sixth inning (of course). Otherwise, Eickhoff cruised, not giving up a runner until the 4th and then erasing the runner on a double play. Still, he struck out just 2 and living on fly balls will catch up to a pitcher after a while. The 3.00 ERA was a 5.56 xFIP, but, hey, look at the results tonight, especially with an outfield (Altherr, Herrera, and Bourjos, from left to right) that caught *everything*.
Shields looked like a guy who could not get a swing and miss. In his first plate appearance tonight, Maikel Franco fouled off pitch after pitch after pitch of the grunting Shields. It gave me some hope that the Phillies would score some runs tonight, and they did.
With 2 out in the second inning, Tommy Joseph doubled. Aaron Altherr laced a hard single to right that Avisail Garcia just couldn't get to, and so fielded it on a short hop. Joseph, off with contact with two outs, cruised home on the single. The next batter, Freddy Galvis, laced a double, plating Joseph.
In the third, Cesar Hernandez lofted a fly ball the opposite way, and it floated just over the left field fence for a home run. The ball was hit hard enough to be a home run, obviously, but it just floated and floated. It was not particularly hard hit. Hittin' season, I guess.
In the sixth, Tommy Joseph crushed an 0 - 2 pitch for a no doubter for a solo shot and a 4 - 0 Phillies lead, pending the 2 run jack in the bottom half of the 6th by Navarro. As soon as Joseph hit it, Shields expressed his frustration demonstratively with some Anglo-Saxon invective that didn't take much in the way of lip reading skills.
Edubray Ramos came in to pitch the seventh, giving up no runs. He struck out two around a hit and a foul out. Jose Abreu fishing for junk in the dirt was particularly good sport.
In the top of the 8th, Ryan Howard reached on a single and Emmanuel Burris came in to run for him. Following a Cameron Rupp walk, Altherr smoked a single to left to score Burriss, staking the Phillies to a 5 - 2 lead.
Off to the eighth and Hector Neris. I wonder sometimes if Neris has any idea where his pitches are going when he throws them. Somehow, he has hardly walked anyone lately. Until tonight, when he walked the first batter on 4 pitches, bringing Tyler Saladino, who had the best facial hair on the field tonight, to the plate. His fly out to Herrera gave the Phillies the first out. Herrera caught a fliner off the end of Adam Eaton's bat for the second out. Neris obliterated Tim Anderson with a splitter, putting the game in the hands of Jeanmar Gomez.
The first Sox batter in the ninth, Melky Cabrera, smoked a ball to right, but missed it enough to let Bourjos get under it. Off the bat, I thought it was gone. Jose Pujols hit a single back through the middle to bring Justin Morneau to the plate. He popped up for the second out. Gomez walked Todd Frazier to bring Avisail Garcia to the plate as the tying run. Garcia laced a ball the opposite way down the right field line, plating a run and leaving runners at first and third. Bourjos got to it quickly, keeping the tying run at first. Dioner Navarro came to the plate with Gomez looking a little rattled. He appeared to be squeezed a little on a 2 - 1 call to go to 3 - 1, but a high fastball made it 3 - 2 and Navarro ground there next pitch to second for the final out, sealing a 5 - 3 Phillies win.
Tomorrow is an off day, then the Mets come to town for three games starting Friday when Bartolo Colon will face off against Adam Morgan. Here is the "Fangraph of RtP being 4 - 0 in his last 4 game recaps":