Jamie, Jamie, Jamie.
Where do we begin? The game started off the way no fan ever wants to see a game start: Jamie Moyer giving up five earned runs before the offense-heavy Phillies even had a chance to bat.
Say what you will about his age or that Ruben Amaro shouldn’t have signed a 45-year-old to a 2-year contract, or that he should be in the bullpen if the organization insists on keeping him on the roster, but Jamie Moyer is hardly to blame for the Phillies third loss of the 2010 season.
Ricky Nolasco nearly pitched a complete game shutout, totally silencing the Phillies’ normally boisterous offense with the exception of Jayson Werth’s 9th inning 2-out solo home run to make it a 5-1 Marlins win. The Phillies only posed a threat once in the bottom of the 6th with a single by Brian Schneider, and walks to Victorino and Utley to load the bases with Howard coming up to bat. The Big Piece came up short and dribbled a second pitch grounder to first to end the inning.
Nolasco’s line was a beauty in only his fourth complete game of his career. In nine innings he allowed five hits (Victorino, Utley, Werth, Castro, Schneider), walked three, struck out four, and gave up one run in the 11th hour on Jayson Werth’s homer. I mentioned a few times previously that the offense just isn’t going to be there every night to get someone across the plate each inning.
I can’t say that this is a typical showing from Nolasco and it certainly isn’t usual for the Phillies bats to be so quiet, especially after the hot start they got off to. But every fan knows that once in a while two anomalies will meet halfway and results in a game like the one played in Philadelphia tonight. Utley can’t hit two home runs a night every night, Polanco can’t bat over .400 forever, and Howard… well Howard has delivered all of once with the bases loaded this year.
But what about Moyer? Aside from the batting practice session he threw in the first inning he pitched an absolute gem. In the midst of a 25-pitch, 5-run first inning Moyer relied heavily on his sinker and cutter, did not throw a single fastball and topped out at 82 MPH. By the game’s end he threw 89 pitches in 6 innings (58 for strikes), walked one, and struck out seven – three of which came from striking out the side in the 5th inning.
There isn’t much to analyze here tonight, folks. Sometimes bats go quiet. Sometimes the Phillies offense can dig their pitchers out of jams. Sometimes Moyer throws great games and just has one 5-run inning hiccup (ok, so that’s happened, uh, every time so far). But I don’t see it as anything to get worked up over. Once Blanton comes back (which should be by the first week of May), Kendrick will more than likely slink back to the bullpen and Moyer will continue to have a short leash on him. I may have gone out of my way to write a plea to KK after his most recent miserable outing to get his head on straight but I by no means have lost my confidence in him. I’m sure if the organization loses faith in Moyer and sends him packing to the ‘pen that Kendrick will be a reasonable replacement until they find a more permanent solution.
Why the Phillies haven’t figured out a permanent solution to their pitching woes already, though, is beyond me. If Roy Halladay was itching to put on red pinstripes and Cliff Lee was miffed to have been shipped off prematurely, surely there are other pitchers than want a shot at winning the Phillies second World Series title in three years. How many times can we say we’ve had Cy Young award winners just going through a revolving door as frequently as they have been recently? And now with J.A. Happ’s looming ailment, Charlie and Ruben have some decisions to make.
The Phillies wrap up the series against the Marlins tomorrow at 1:35 with Hamels (2-0) vs. Robertson (1-0).