In a neat bit of coincidence, Jamie Moyer is back on the mound for the Phillies in a potential clinching game. Last season in Game 162, Moyer turned in six solid innings to pick up the win over the Nationals as the Phils got their first playoff berth in 14 seasons.
Today, Moyer attempts to give the Phillies their first back-to-back playoff bids since 1980-81.
It’s rather apt that Moyer is the pitcher who get the ball since the story is that he cut school in order to attend the Phillies’ victory parade in 1980.
Clearly, Moyer is the only player on the Phils who remembers the ’80 title team.
Word around the campfire is that Moyer will be the oldest pitcher in baseball history to pitch a clinching game during the regular season… that is if he does it. So far, though, he’s off to a good start. He sat down the Nats in order in the first on 17 pitches (11 strikes) and two groundball outs.
Don’t expect Moyer to go the distance today, but count on him being consistent.
Meanwhile, just before Jimmy Rollins dug into the batters’ box the Mets game went final. Chalk up a complete-game, three-hitter for Johan Santana.
Chalk up a first-inning goose egg for the Phillies in the first as Nats’ lefty John Lannan sat them down in order with two whiffs. The last one was a 11-pitch epic to catch Chase Utley looking.
End of 1: Phillies 0, Nats 0
One of the worst-kept secrets around the Phillies during the second half of the season was that Chase Utley had been playing through some type of injury. Close observers of the game – like scouts for instance – knew something was up based on how the All-Star took his swing or ran to receive a ball.
Clearly something was bothering Utley because he went from 25 home runs during the first half of the season, to just eight after the All-Star Break. In fact, all of Utley’s power numbers waned, though his batting average remained steady.
Utley ripped a few loud fouls off the lefty John Lannan, but went down on strikes when the pitcher fooled him with a slider. Regardless, Utley’s stroke seems solid.
The Nats got on the board in the fifth when Jayson Werth could not hang onto a long drive hit by Anderson Hernandez when he crashed into the right-field fence. Werth appeared to be shaken up a bit on the play, taking an extra minute to loosen up his shoulder and/or catch his breath after relaying the ball back to the infield.
Moyer, meanwhile, is up to 72 pitches. He should be able to get through seven innings.
Nevertheless, fears that Werth was a little banged up were allayed in the bottom half of the frame when he led off with home run just over the out-of-town scoreboard in right.
Call it a “Citizens Bank Park Special.”
Lannan survived big trouble when Shane Victorino’s long drive was caught at the fence.
The Phillies are 12 outs away from wrapping things up.