PEDRO BELOW AVERAGE (AT BEST); JAMIE MOYER KICKED TO THE CURB

                                Kallas Remarks by Steve Kallas

It’s hard to believe what’s been done to Jamie Moyer.  A true professional, a “junk ball” pitcher for what seems like forever, Moyer was 16-7 last year for the World Champion Phillies.  But Pedro Martinez, one of the greatest pitchers ever (but not in, at least, the last four seasons), somehow got a contract, worked hard and was placed in the Phillies’ rotation instead of Moyer.  Moyer was, reportedly, very upset.  And it says here that he has every right to be upset.

HOW’S THAT WORKING OUT?

Well, if you look at it objectively, not very well.  What you’ll here from the pro-Pedro guys is that he’s 2-0.  True enough, but let’s take a look at his three starts.  On August 12, Pedro got the start against the Cubs.  He was staked to a 2-0 lead after one, a 4-1 lead after three and a 12-1 lead after four.  Not much pressure there.  Pedro gave up seven hits and three runs (all earned) in his five-inning debut and got the win.  But certainly he wasn’t very impressive.

Start number two, against Arizona on August 18, was better.  But, because of a rain delay, Pedro only pitched three innings, giving up one run (on a homer) and two hits as he got a no-decision.  Start number three, in this writer’s opinion (and, remember, this writer thinks Pedro is one of the greatest pitchers ever and the only one in the last 20 years who can approach the great Koufax – see 1999 and 2000), really exposed Pedro. 

Against what can generously be described as a weak hitting Mets team (even Met announcer Gary Cohen stated that “the depth of their batting order is so shallow”), Pedro was pummeled by the top of the Mets order, as their first three hitters went 6-9 with three extra base hits.  And those three hitters (Pagan, Castillo and Murphy) won’t ever be confused with Damon, Jeter and Teixeira.  Throw in clean-up hitter (?) Jeff Francoeur’s long triple and the top four went 7-12 against Pedro with four extra base-hits.

But Pedro pitches in the National League now and, with the bottom of the Mets order essentially an excellent AAA team (offensively), Pedro was able to hang around to get the win.  The Phillies had two guys warming up in the third inning (including the disappearing Jamie Moyer) but, once Pedro got to the bottom of the order, he was OK.  In fact, Gary Cohen, in the third, wondered out loud what it must be like to watch the great Pedro being threatened with maybe coming out of a game where he led 6-0 and then 8-2 and then 8-4.  Cohen said (about Phillies’ manager Charlie Manuel) that “it’s all about managing with your head and not your heart.”

Pedro was lights out against Brian Schneider (4 for his last 46 before he took Pedro to the warning track in deep right), Anderson Hernandez (0 for his last 16) and the pitcher.  This is what kept him in the game and got him the win.  If you’ve ever tried to understand the difference between pitching in the AL and pitching in the NL, here was Exhibit A.

WHERE ART THOU, JAMIE MOYER?

So what’s happened to Jamie Moyer?  Here’s a guy who, before this year, was 35-21 for the Phillies for the last three seasons.  He, essentially, hadn’t missed a start in three years, starting 33 times in both 2007 and 2008 and 22 times this year before the plug was pulled on him.

Despite being (rightfully) upset, Moyer continues to do his job in the (rare) instance that he is called upon to pitch.  Moyer last started for the Phillies on August 9 against the Marlins.  He gave up three runs (two earned) in five innings and took the loss (the bullpen gave up nine runs after Moyer was removed).  Then, there were no appearances of any kind once Pedro entered the rotation – until Pedro’s second start on August 18 against the Diamondbacks. 

All Moyer did in his first relief appearance was to throw six shutout innings against the Diamondbacks, giving up only two hits and getting the win.

Shouldn’t that have earned him his starting job back?  Apparently not.

WHERE’S CHARLIE MANUEL IN ALL OF THIS?

Well, this move originally was presented as a general manager’s move.  But Manuel seems to have at least tacitly gone along with it.  On WFAN radio in New York City this past Sunday, Manuel said things like “we felt we owed it to Pedro to let him start” (huh?) and “Don’t worry, Jamie Moyer will pitch again for this team again.” (Yeah, but when?).

But that begs the question:  How did a 257-game winner who had as much to do with his team making the playoffs last year as anyone, get kicked to the curb?  Well, it always seems to be the junk ball pitcher, the guy who always looks like he’s going to be hammered, the guy who everyone swears they can hit (until they go 0-4 against him), who gets knocked out of the rotation.

Charlie Manuel may not like it, but he seems to be going along with it.  By the way, who do the Phillies owe more to:  the guy who won 16 games last year (and has been there for over three seasons) or the guy who just showed up?  It’s bizarre, to say the least.

WHO HAS THE MOST WINS FOR THE PHILLIES THIS YEAR?

Maybe on TV this weekend you saw the list of pitchers in the Phillies starting rotation now.  Cliff Lee is 4-0 and is clearly the ace of the staff.  The highest winner in the present staff is the rookie J.A. Happ with 10 followed by Joe Blanton with 8 wins.  Cole Hamels (of all people) is having a sub-par year at 7-8 and Pedro is now 2-0. 

Did I forget to mention who leads the Phillies in wins in 2009?  Oh, yeah, it’s Jamie Moyer with 11.  Enough said, don’t you think?

Jamie Moyer, with 257 wins, has already reached the equivalent of 300 wins in the world of the five-man pitching rotation (see Kallas Remarks, 5/14/08).   But every time the Phillies give Pedro a huge lead, Moyer must be thinking about losing another win.  It’s just not right.  Hopefully, the Phillies will put him back in the rotation sooner rather than later.

And then maybe Cole Hamels will get kicked to the curb (but don’t bet on it).     

© Copyright 2009 by Steve Kallas.  All rights reserved.

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One response to “PEDRO BELOW AVERAGE (AT BEST); JAMIE MOYER KICKED TO THE CURB

  1. “…begs the question: …”?

    You have a law degree and you’re making that mistake?

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