The final version of my game story, where Jamie Moyer talks about an adjustment that he made before the fourth inning that reversed his night, is below. The game ended too late to get his quotes in the paper. For the previous blog post on Cliff Lee and other plan B options, click here. We'll keep plugging away at trade deadline stories and updates tomorrow.
Summary of the current status:
--Phillies and Jays are still actively talking, despite some reports that negotiations are breaking down. That's according to a person with direct knowledge of the process.
--Cleveland is scouting the Reading Phils, with a particular interest in Vance Worley.
--The Phillies have a long history of acquiring the Jayson Werth, the Shane Victorino, the Joe Blanton, the...Cliff Lee?
--The Phillies have acquired pitcher Roy Halladay for a package of J.A. Happ, Kyle Drabek and Dominic Brown.
--That above item is inaccurate.
By Andy Martino
INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
PHOENIX— A summary of Jamie Moyer’s performance last night sounds like an assessment of his season to date, if not his career: after an ominous beginning, he steadied. Then, somehow, despite his age and dawdling fastball, he collected yet another win.
Moyer shut down the Arizona Diamondbacks through 6 2/3 innings in a 6-2win last night at Chase Field. He become the first Phils pitcher to reach 10 wins this season, and perhaps the most unlikely man to ever record 256 major league victories.
“Because he changes speeds,” was Charlie Manuel’s explanation of why Moyer succeeds in particular against young teams like Arizona and Florida. Of last night’s game, Manuel said: “He was in trouble the first few innings because he got behind the hitters. He made some pitches and was able to get out of it without being hurt.”
While the Phillies have tried to bolster their rotation via trade and the recent signing of Pedro Martinez, Moyer has quietly returned to a reasonable facsimile of his 2008 self, when he was a mere 45 years old and won 16 games. Just like last year, Moyer has dominated free-swinging teams like the Florida Marlins of late, and received generous run support in most of the games in which he pitched poorly.
Before yesterday, Moyer had been credited with a victory in five of six starts, and his 3.68 earned run average was nearly identical to last season’s 3.71 season mark. Last night was a signature performance; the line between disaster and success seemed thin early, but he ended up fooling a young team and emerging with an impressive line.
After walking two but stranding the runners in the first, Moyer allowed three consecutive singles to begin the second. He struck out pitcher Jon Garland for the first out, then got Stephen Drew to ground sharply to second. A well-positioned Chase Utley began a double play, ending an inning that moments before had seemed to promise trouble, if not disaster, for Moyer.
“It is a game of not even inches,” Moyer said of that play. “If he gets under that ball and drives it, they probably score two or three runs…it is amazing how little things like that can make a difference.”
The Diamondbacks immediately resumed their assault of baserunners in the third, and Moyer again countered by stranding them all. Ryan Roberts led off the inning with a hit and Moyer, seeing his pitch count climb well into the 50s, walked Justin Upton. He then struck out cleanup hitter Mark Reynolds. Minutes later, courtesy of two popups, he again strode toward the dugout with the game tied at zero. In the first three innings, seven Diamondbacks reached base, and none scored.
Warming up before the fourth inning, Moyer made a mechanical adjustment, changing the angle of his front leg during the windup. “My mechanics were horrible the first few innings,” he said. “(Before the fourth), I picked up my leg a little differently and I said, ‘that’s it.’”
The Phils offense chose the same inning to awaken. Utley reached on a one-out single, and Ryan Howard followed with a 410-foot blast to left-center, giving his team a 2-0 lead. From there, Moyer switched from shaky to dominant.
The Phillies scored their third run in the fifth, which Pedro Feliz led off with a single. He went to third when Garland fired a pickoff throw into right field, and scored on Jimmy Rollins’ two-out double.
Moyer allowed a two-out double to Upton in the fifth, but pitched around it by getting Reynolds to pop up.
The Phillies steadily added to their lead. Utley walked to begin the sixth and went to third when Howard reached on an error. Raul Ibanez, who batted .192 during the homestand while still healing from a groin injury, drove in Utley with a single.
The Phils made use of sloppy defense to add two unearned runs in the inning, and survived an eighth-inning scare when Ryan Madson allowed two runs but stranded two.