Sorry for not posting for a few days. My wife and I are actually in California on vacation, and there just wasn't time to post.
That was quite a meltdown against the troublesome Marlins this past weekend. The Phils' bats went to sleep, the pitching was inconsistent and unreliable, and nothing worked. Instead of burying the Fish, the Phillies let them right back into the running. Their lead went from a comfortable 7 games to a not-so-comfortable 3.5 games, and who knows what will happen next.
And, in the midst of all of it, Jamie Moyer pitched himself right out of the starting rotation with another atrocious start. Pedro Martinez makes his Phillies' debut tomorrow night, and Moyer has been shunted off to the pen, where his style of pitching is not well suited at all. "Jamie was a total professional and team player when we let him know of the decision to move him to the bullpen. He has been and will continue to be a very important part of this team," said Charlie Manuel. Moyer is a realist, and he has to know that he has not been effective or consistent. Moyer is signed through next year, and I hope that he realizes that it's time for him to hang them up before he really embarrasses himself. Moyer is a class act, and I'm sure that there will be a position for him in the front office when the time comes for him to retire.
It's not that simple. Moyer is not happy, and he has spoken out publicly to express his unhappiness with the situation. "I'm really not happy with this decision that the Phillies have made," he said, sitting in the stands behind the first base dugout. "I will take what they've asked me to do, but I'm not really excited about the decision that has been made. Ultimately, I'm a little disheartened because this past winter when I was negotiating with the Phillies this was a sore thumb, but if you will, about this potentially happening.
"You can't promise anything in this game, but I really felt that Ruben (Amaro Jr.) parlayed to me that this type of situation would not happen. Actually even had some discussion with David (Montgomery) with them reassuring me that this type of situation wouldn't happen. Again, I'm a little disheartened by the way it's happened, how it's happened. We're still in first place. I probably feel like I haven't contributed as well as I could have, but I think if you go around to the other 24 players on our club they would probably say the same type of thing.
"Whether I like it or not, this is the situation I'm in. I will deal with it. I will deal with it in a respectful way. I'll be respectful to my teammates. Like I said in the beginning, I do not want to be a distraction and I refuse to be a distraction. It's about the 25 players that are here. We all have to pick each other up. We all have to support each other. We all have to be professional about what we do. This is a job that sometimes you're in situations that you like or dislike and you have to deal with it. That's why for me dealing with this like a man and taking whatever they choose to do. I'm an employee here, but I don't always have to like the situation that I'm in. And that's OK. Life goes on. But like I said, I feel a little disheartened. I feel a little bit like I've been misled. I feel like I've played this game long enough that the respect factor should be there."
I don't really blame Jamie Moyer for feeling this way, but I commend him for insisting that he will be the sort of consummate professional that I expected he would be. I am a little surprised that he spoke out the way he did, but the man is a class act. But he's a class act whose time to gracefully fade from the picture has come. Ultimately, as he pointed out, the team has to come first.
I'm looking forward to Pedro's debut with great interest. The way I see it, he can't be any worse or any more inconsistent than Moyer has been all season, and we know that Pedro will throw a lot harder than Moyer ever did. He will make his debut in Chicago against the Cubs, which will be a challenge.
Martinez also handled the situation with class. "I'm a man," he said. "I'm a human being. So is Jamie. He's my friend, my teammate, my colleague, whatever you want to call it. Of course, you have to feel. If it happened the same way, if I went to the bullpen, I wouldn't be happy. It wasn't my decision. It wasn't me. I was placed in this position. As a matter of fact, I didn't know anything until yesterday."
Of greater concern was another torching of Brad Lidge in the series finale against the Marlins. Lidge pitched only one inning, gave up another 3 earned runs, and inflated his already enormous ERA to a very grim 7.24. He blew another save tonight, coughing up the tying run in the bottom of the 9th inning, forcing the Phillies into extra innings in a game where it shouldn't have been necessary. Once Brett Myers returns, there really is no harm to giving him a shot at closing, because Lidge surely isn't getting the job.
This team has been streaky all year, so I guess this is nothing new. However, it's now August, and October isn't far off. They need to get settled down, and they need to gain some consistency, or else they will have no chance of repeating as World Series champions. It's now or never, guys.