Moyer's Last Stand?
But the fact the Phillies have not said Pedro Martinez needs another rehab start indicates his next start will be in the Majors. He walked none and struck out 11 in six innings Wednesday in Double-A Reading. Ruben Amaro Jr. came away impressed. If the Phillies felt Martinez needed another rehab start, there would be no reason not to say it.
Why keep it a secret?
So if what I just wrote is accurate (oh, yes, I’ve been wrong before), Martinez could make his Phillies debut this week against the Cubs.
How they make it work is another question.
We know Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Joe Blanton and J.A. Happ are in the rotation, which leaves Jamie Moyer or Martinez for the fifth spot or a six-man rotation.
Moyer pitches today against the Marlins. He leads the team with 10 wins, but also has a 5.55 ERA, which is the second-highest ERA in the National League. Moyer’s ERA seems to make this an easy decision — just bump him from the rotation, right? — but it is not that easy.
Moyer is not J.D. Durbin, Eude Brito, Robinson Tejada or Brandon Duckworth. He is not just another pitcher. He has 256 wins in his big-league career. He helped the Phillies win a World Series. He is well respected in the clubhouse, front office and organization. At 46, he also isn’t a good fit for the bullpen.
Plus, he doesn’t deserve to be unceremoniously bounced.
He leads the team in wins. The Phillies have a fairly comfortable lead in the National League East with him in the rotation. And Moyer is 7-5 with a 4.45 ERA (41 earned runs in 83 innings) in 14 starts since late May. Opponents have hit .269 against him. Meanwhile, Hamels is 5-5 with a 4.81 ERA (46 earned runs in 86 innings) in his last 14 starts. Opponents have hit .276 against him.
Moyer has been inconsistent, but he has won. And since May he has put up respectable numbers for a No. 5 starter. Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not saying Moyer is a better pitcher than Hamels. I’m saying Moyer hasn’t pitched poorly enough to be automatically yanked from the rotation simply because Martinez, who hasn’t pitched since last season, has arrived.
But that is the dilemma the Phillies face, if they decide to go with a five-man rotation.
I’m glad I’m not them. This is not an easy decision.