Last night the Phillies new acquisition took to the mound. Jamie Moyer, pitching in his first start National League game in 15 years, got off to a rather rough start. Juan Pierre knocked a ball right off Moyer’s glove to open the game and the Phils starter was charged with an error. Moyer, however, quickly settled in, picked Pierre off and pitched decently the rest of the way. In fact, he had no-hitter going through four and a third innings until he allowed back-to-back hits which later scored on a Pierre single. His line for the night read: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 Ks on 94 pitches – 58 of which were thrown for strikes. His fastball topped out in the mid-80s but he did well to throw a lot of junk around the plate to keep the Cubs swinging. Moyer has allowed 25 HRs in 160 innings this season, so when he misses a spot, he usually pays for it. This is likely why we saw a lot of changeups and sliders around the corners. I did also notice that it might take a while for Moyer to gel with his battery partner. You have two veterans in Lieberthal and Moyer who are likely set in their ways. We all know Lieberthal isn’t great at calling games, but at the same time Moyer has been in the AL for a while (he was 0-3 wit 2 Ks at the plate), so there will have to be a certain adjustment period for the both of them. Not surprisingly there were a lot of trips to the mound in last night’s game.
A few quick facts about Moyer, before we get into the rest of the game: first, college basketball analyst Digger Phelps is his father-in-law. Second, in 1992 the Cubs decided Moyer didn’t fit with the club and released him, but at the same time offered him a coaching position with one of their minor league affiliates. With a chance to retire 14 years ago, Moyers proved to the Cubs that he still had more than half a tank. It would have been Jamie’s second stint with the team that drafted him, since in 1988 he was part of a big trade that sent Rafael Palmeiro to Texas and none other than "Wild Thing" Mitch Williams to Chicago. Then again after pitching 20 seasons with 7 teams a person’s bound to have plenty of stories and degrees of separation like this along the way.
On the offensive side, the Phils did enough to give Moyer run support and eventually win the game. Chase Utley had the night off due to general soreness from last night’s collision and was replaced with Danny Sandoval. With Rowand out, the top of the line up read Victorino, Sandoval, Rollins. With Rollins batting third and a chance to be more of an RBI guy than an OBP guy perhaps Rowand’s absence might have some unintended silver linings. That is, if his pop ups can make it out of the infield of course. On that note, the Phillies scored 2 of their first 3 runs on ground outs, so it was productive outs that actually gave Moyer the early lead.
The Phils notched a big (but could’ve been bigger) inning as they batted around in the sixth inning. They scored three runs, two off consecutive Burrell and Dellucci doubles, but ended up leaving the bases loaded (on a Rollins pop up). The inning and the game in general stretched an already thin Cubs bullpen which is certainly good news for the remaining two games of the series. Also, it must be highlighted that Abraham Nunez, after clawing his way above the Mednoza line on Monday, continued his upward trend with a 2-for-4 night. The Phils hung on and with Ryan Madson recording his first save of the season, they won 6-3.
In the grand scheme of things, the Phils did not gain any ground in the Wild Card standings. Cincinnati, who do not appear to want to relinquish its lead, spanked the Astros by a score of 14-0. San Diego also won 1-0 over the Dodgers.