After the Marlins snuck out two marginal victories, their deficit has shrunk to five games. While the Phillies still maintain the upper hand, a sweep at the hands (fins?) of the Marlins could be the shift of momentum Florida is looking for.
Nick Johnson, recently acquired by the Marlins, felt coming into the series that a sweep was needed. Anything else would be disappointing.
As Sunday's finale approaches, Florida is in position to finish the series just four games back of the Phils.
Philadelphia has lost five of its last seven, with the lone two victories coming from Cliff Lee and J.A. Happ.
Joe Blanton has continued his consistent pitching, contributing inning-eating starts nearly every time out. Yet the Phillies' lackluster offense of late has failed to back up "Joe the Pitcher."
Cole Hamels seems unable to find his groove this season. His most recent disappointing outing came last night in a 6-4 loss.
To his credit, he had never pitched more than 185 innings in his major league career before 2008, when the World Series MVP went for 262 strong innings. Injuries also hampered his April this season.
At least somewhat of the old Hamels will have to come through down the stretch to solidify the Phillies' rotation.
As for Sunday, the 46-year-old Jamie Moyer will take on the Marlins, a task he hasn't had trouble with throughout his career.
In 15 career starts, Moyer has earned a decision in each, going 13-2 with a 2.83 ERA.
Yet his dismal 5.55 ERA in 2009 stands as second worst in the National League amongst eligible starting pitchers. This and the arrival of Pedro Martinez hint at the possibility of Moyer moving out of the rotation.
There is no better opponent for the crafty veteran to face.
But in such an important game, Moyer is the last pitcher the Phils want to throw out there.
Hopefully he can continue his inconsistencies.
No, that was not a typo. Jamie Moyer needs to continue his inconsistencies for at least one more outing.
Since he allowed six earned runs on June 17, he has delivered a quality start in every other appearance. Basically, he would pitch well one start, terrible the next, and so on.
His last appearance, he allowed six runs over five innings. Sunday? Well, he's due for a quality start.
So even though Moyer has been the epitome of disappointing performance, the stars are aligned for the ageless lefty. His 5-1 record in day games only adds to the résumé Moyer has to pitch today.
Hopefully he can make the most of what is possibly his last start as a Phillie in 2009.
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