However, he also has a 5.55 ERA, and he's been hit hard much more than not. The Phils are about to add Pedro Martinez to their pitching staff, and the front office has made no bones about the fact that Martinez was brought in to be a starter. With Moyer in the rotation, there is no room for Pedro. Pedro struck out 9 of the first 12 batters he faced in his rehab start at Reading tonight, allowing 3 runs and 5 hits in 6 solid innings. He's just about ready to return to the major leagues.
Charlie Manuel, bless his soul, is a loyal man, and he has stated that he hasn't really considered removing Moyer from the rotation because Moyer has more than 250 career wins and has made major contributions. I agree, those things should count for something. However, the issue is not loyalty, but winning games. Moyer has just been too erratic and has been hit way too hard way too often this year, and I can only hope that, having gotten to the 250 win milestone, he will retire at the end of the season and join the Phillies' front office, where he belongs.
The other option is to remove J.A. Happ from the rotation. What's Happ done? He's 7-2 with an ERA of less than 3.0, and so far tonight, he's pitched 5 strong shutout innings and has given up only two hits so far. Happ needs--deserves--to be part of the starting rotation.
And what happens when Brett Myers returns later this month? I hope that Myers returns as closer and not as starter. He likes that role, and he did very well in it.
This is a tough decision, no matter how you slice it. But Jamie Moyer is nothing if not the consummate professional, and I have absolutely no doubt that he will understand and act like the true pro that he is if he's demoted to the bullpen. The name on the front of the uniform needs to be more important than the name on the back, and I think Moyer understands that.
UPDATE, 9:30 PM: Happ pitched a complete game, 7-0 shutout. He gave up only 4 hits and had 10 strikeouts, including the final hitter of the game. His ERA is now a very respectable 2.74, has an 8-2 record, and has to be considered to be a serious contender for National League Rookie of the Year. Nice job, J.A. Keep up the good work.