The possibilities can't help but creep into minds inside the Phillies' clubhouse.
The Phillies pretty much know what they can expect from Cole Hamels, Jamie Moyer and Kyle Kendrick. They know they expect better from Brett Myers. They know they like what they have seen lately from Adam Eaton. If they can continue to pitch the way they have recently, it could make for an interesting summer.
Eaton allowed just three hits, one run and no walks and struck out five in 62/3 innings last night in a 3-2 victory over the Cincinnati Reds at Citizens Bank Park. The win moved the Phillies 21/2 games ahead of the Florida Marlins in the National League East.
"It all starts with starting pitching," said Pat Burrell, who hit a two-run home run to left field in the sixth inning to give the Phillies a two-run lead. "That sets the tone for the whole game. Their guy did pretty good; our guy did great. And our bullpen was great. With pitching like that, it's possible to win games with three runs. We've got a good thing going right now. We need to continue it."
Each Phillies starter has made 12 starts this season. Hamels, Myers, Kendrick and Moyer have six quality starts apiece.
Eaton has seven to lead the team.
Most important is that Eaton is 2-1 with a 2.29 ERA in his last three starts. In 192/3 innings, he has allowed just 15 hits, two walks and five earned runs and has struck out 11. He has not had a three-start stretch like that since May 8-20, 2007, when he went 1-1 with a 1.74 ERA.
"He's put three games together that have been pretty good," pitching coach Rich Dubee said. "Hopefully, the corner has turned. Hopefully, the snowball continues to roll in the right direction. He's been very, very good for us lately."
Eaton has been using his change-up more, which got him some outs in the early innings. He retired the first six batters he faced, and retired the side in order in the fifth and sixth innings.
"The results were good, and the stuff was probably the best I've had this season," Eaton said.
Maybe since he joined the Phillies.
"You want to have the feeling that the team feels they can win while you're out there," Eaton said.
Lately, the Phillies have.
If Eaton can somehow keep this up, and Myers, who pitches tonight, can build off his start last weekend against Florida, the Phils will have a more consistent rotation to go along with the best bullpen in the National League and the second-best offense in the league.
"We just go out there and put up innings," Eaton said. "That's a huge part for any starting rotation. If we give them innings, good things are going to happen."