“Tough times never last, but tough people do.” -Robert H. Schuller
It’s a quote that Jamie Moyer seems to live by. For all of the bad days, weeks, months, or seasons Moyer has had throughout his 24 years in the majors, his resiliency has provided him a way out. Before Spring Training, when everyone thought he was through, Moyer shut everyone up by scoring a spot in the rotation. After an opening month in which his ERA rocketed to nearly six, he fought through it to drop it nearly a run in May. Following an absolutely disastrous outing against Boston on June 11, Moyer has settled in with back to back phenomenal starts.
Today, Moyer blew through the Blue Jays with relative ease in the Phillies 11-2 victory.
This quote also rings true when you think about where this team as a whole was a few weeks ago. Following that one inning, nine run drubbing Moyer was a part of in Boston, the Phillies have gone 9-5 – winning five of the last six – and have turned their season around.
Moyer continues to defy age each time he toes the rubber. His line was again spectacular as he shut down the home team, allowing just six hits over seven innings, with his two earned runs coming on a Vernon Wells home run in the third inning. Moyer fanned seven, his high-water mark for the year, which he’s hit twice (FLA 4/17 and CHC 5/19). Somehow, someway, he is now tied for the team lead in wins with Roy Halladay (9).
Wells’ homer was the 506th of Moyer’s career, making him the record holder in home runs allowed, passing Robin Roberts at the top of the list. Moyer also surpassed 4,000 innings pitched, becoming the 40th pitcher in major league history to do so. He also jumped into sole possession of 35th all-time on the wins list with 267. The numbers continue to pile up.
“First of all, when you say 4,000 innings, that’s amazing,” said Phillies manager Charlie Manuel, chiming in on the record-setting day. “Both times when I would see him pitch [in the minor leagues] I would say ‘this guy might not get back’. Not only did he get back, but he stayed a long time.”
Moyer took it in stride as he normally does, but did offer a modest statement on his impressive afternoon saing “I’m quite proud of being able to pitch 4,000 innings.”
It’s incredible to continue to watch Moyer mature as he progresses this year. Normally, that adjective is reserved for youngsters, however, Jamie is still learning on the go.
For Toronto, Brett Cecil was victimized by the Phillies offense, the second Blue Jays pitcher to get ripped this weekend. Cecil worked 4 2/3 innings and was pounded for 10 hits and seven runs (five earned). The Phils saw Cecil at a perfect time; just after he was lit up for 11 earned runs over his previous two starts against San Diego and St. Louis.
What really stood out was Toronto’s inability to throw the baseball to each other. They committed four errors by the seventh inning which blew the game wide open for the Phillies. Jason Frasor was on the mound for the despicable display of defense from the guys behind him. He gave up four runs in the seventh, but all were unearned.
Firing on several cylinders (not all, see: Jayson Werth) was an offense that badgered Toronto into 13 runs and a bevy of mistakes. Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino, and Ben Francisco all had three hits apiece and Dane Sardinha pitched in with a two-run double of his own that broke the game open in the second inning. With those 13 hits, the Phils have now reached 10 or more in seven of their last 11 games. The win also marked the first time they’ve finished with a winning Interleague record since ’07.
Clearly, the toughest of times are over. It’s now up to this championship-caliber team to once again strike fear into their opponents, something that has been lacking for the better part of the 2010 season. They’re close, for sure, and Jamie Moyer has had something to do with this overall resurgence.