He caught three Hall of Famers on Tuesday in a 2-1 victory over the Cleveland Indians at Citizens Bank Park. He picked up the 266th win of his career, which tied Bob Feller and Eppa Rixey for 35th place on the all-time list. He also allowed the 505th home run of his career, which tied Robin Roberts for the all-time record.
- 134 wins
- 118 wins
"[Feller] was a great pitcher in his day," Moyer said. "He's another guy I didn't get to see pitch. I guess if you're around long enough, things like this happen."
And tying Roberts, who has the most wins of any right-hander in Phillies history? Roberts died May 6. He was 83.
"I always respected Robin as a person in the time he spent around here," Moyer said. "I believe today he's probably smiling at me or laughing at me, one way or the other. The only thing I think about is I've had a lot of chances to be able to do that. It's probably not a record that I'm most proud of, but I'm proud of the opportunity that I've had to have those chances. And with my style of pitching, you know what? You're going to give up home runs. That's just the way it is. Some of them go really far. Some of them don't. That's the way it goes."
Moyer's style of pitching baffled the young Indians hitters. He allowed a solo home run to Russell Branyan into the second deck in right field in the second inning and a two-out infield single to Trevor Crowe in the sixth inning, but that was it.
"Moyer flat-out toyed with us," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "He was changing speeds, working both sides of the plate, doing what he does best."
"It's unbelievable to do what he's doing at his age," Indians pitcher Mitch Talbot said. "That's awesome."
Moyer, 47, has rebounded marvelously from his nine-runs-in-one-inning effort June 11 against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. He allowed three hits and two runs in eight innings last Wednesday in a 6-3 victory against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. And then Tuesday against the Indians, he allowed two hits, one run and one walk and struck out five in eight innings.
It obviously can't be erased from the record books, but remove Moyer's disastrous start against the Red Sox and he is 8-5 with a 3.57 ERA this season.
Instead, he is 8-6 with a 4.43 ERA, which is respectable, especially considering the Phillies pulled him from the rotation last August and he had to earn the fifth spot in the rotation in a Spring Training battle against right-hander Kyle Kendrick. If left-hander J.A. Happ returns to the rotation and pitches with some success, it will be interesting to see if the Phillies try to add starting pitching help before the July 31 Trade Deadline.
The Phils could use an offensive spark, but they are going to rely on their current lineup to turn things around. Philadelphia scored a couple runs in the first inning, but it had just two hits the rest of the way.
Phillies left-hander J.C. Romero started the ninth inning, which raised a few eyebrows with closer Brad Lidge rested. Manager Charlie Manuel, who was ejected in the fourth inning for arguing that Raul Ibanez had not slid outside the baseline while trying to break up a double play, said they started the inning with Romero based on matchups and scouting reports.
Romero faced Crowe, a switch-hitter who has a .613 on-base-plus-slugging percentage against left-handers compared to a .643 OPS against right-handers; Shin-Soo Choo, a left-handed hitter who has a .625 OPS against left-handers compared to a .966 against right-handers; and Carlos Santana, a switch-hitter who has an .862 OPS against left-handers compared to a 1.545 OPS against right-handers.
Romero retired Crowe, but allowed an infield single to Choo and walked Santana to put runners on first and second. Lidge replaced Romero to face Austin Kearns and Jhonny Peralta.
Lidge, who struck out both hitters to end the game, said he was ready to start the ninth, but said Manuel explained his thinking to him after the game. If Lidge was irked, he did not show it.
Asked if he had a chip on his shoulder when he entered the game, Lidge said, "I understand [starting the inning with Romero], but, yeah, you can use it as motivation. J.C. is as good as it gets against lefties, so I have no problem with Chuck doing whatever he's doing. But you can always find ways to motivate yourself. Sure, I want Charlie to know he can use me at the beginning of the inning or whatever. Of course, I joined the season a little bit late this year, so I've got to get his confidence."
Pressed about his decision, Manuel said testily, "Lidge is our closer. Lidge is our closer. In my mind, he's our closer and that's what counts. He is our closer. I wanted to put Romero on the weaker hitters from the right side."
In the end, it worked. It worked because Moyer dazzled, picking up for an offense that went silent after the first inning.
Next up for Moyer? Hall of Fame right-hander Jim Palmer, who finished his career with 268 wins.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.