Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Moyer Done in By Long Ball

The Phillies hoped that a day off and a vacation away from home would help with the recent struggles. Despite a strong outing from Jamie Moyer, they were unable to turn the tables and fell to the Oakland A's in a 5-2 loss.

Moyer completely dominated the A's, as much as 45-year-old, soft-tossing Jamie Moyer can. Moyer pitched six scoreless innings, and struck out a season-high nine batters. Pat Burrell hit a solo home run to give Moyer just enough offense to get a win. But when Moyer got to the seventh inning, he had a little trouble. With one out and two men on, Emil Brown launched a pitch to left-center to make it a 3-1 game. Moyer was taken out not long after that and a great start would essentially be for nothing. Chad Durbin finished the seventh.

In the eighth inning, Shane Victorino got a chance to show his speed. He hit a ball to Bobby Crosby who was barely able to get to it and as a result was unable to throw Victorino out at first. Victorino stole second and was able to score on a Ryan Howard single. Howard was able to reach second on a passed ball, but Pat Burrell struck out to end the inning.

J.C. Romero was brought in to pitch. He got the first two batters out, but walked Ryan Sweeney and then allowed a home run to Jack Cust, all but securing the win for the A's. He was immediately replaced by Ryan Madson who was able to get them out of the inning, but it didn't matter as Jayson Werth, Geoff Jenkins, and Pedro Feliz went down in order to get a save for Huston Street and a win for the Oakland A's.

Normally 3 runs in 6 2/3 innings is a fine stat line for a starter. The problem is when the offense doesn't back it up. The team only had six hits on the night, two of which were from Shane Victorino. Neither Jimmy Rollins nor Chase Utley had a hit in this game, though Utley did walk twice. Howard and Burrell were able to give the Phillies two runs, but that was it, and the normally dangerous bottom of the lineup was also ineffective. The good news is that the team isn't striking out a whole lot, except for Geoff Jenkins who struck out three times. Jenkins has been in a huge slump and hasn't had a hit since June 16th.

It was surprising that Pat Burrell did not start at DH for the Phillies, though according to Charlie Manuel, Burrell struggles when he's not moving around. Manuel could also have taken Jamie Moyer out after the sixth inning. With six shutout innings under his belt, his pitch count just under 100, and no pitcher's spot to worry about, the Phillies should have been overly cautious about winning this game and let their bullpen handle the last three innings. Anytime this bullpen allows runs it seems like a fluke, so even if Madson or Durbin had to pitch two innings, it would have been worth it to get a win. There was no way to know that Moyer would fall apart in the seventh, but when he allowed those two runners, normally Manuel would have made the pitching change (for Chad Durbin, who always inherits runners) before the home run. There was no way to know, but Manuel should probably have played it safe.

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