Friday night, the Phillies opened up their first road series of 2021. We saw some of the worst play we’ve seen from them so far in the young season. Their bats were cold. Along with this, Zack Wheeler and company couldn’t get any help from the umpire on their strike zones or from their infielders’ defense. As a result, the Phillies dropped their second game of the season in a bad loss to the Braves.
Fast forward to last night… and it was close to the same story. The Phillies got off to a hot start, scoring two runs in the top of the first. However, the Braves scored a few of their own in the bottom half. Zach Eflin did settle in and perform well after the first, but the Phillies wound up dropping this one 5-4.
Up next, they get back at it tonight in a chance to close out the series with a win. The first pitch is slated for 7:08 PM with coverage beginning at 6:30 on NBC Sports Philadelphia. You can catch the game on NBC Sports Philadelphia as well. As of now, Philadelphia is +118 money line underdogs with the over/under set at eight runs.
After a full season in Japan, Matt Moore is making his return to the MLB. This will be his first start in the big leagues since April 6, 2019, when he pitched for the Detroit Tigers. Moore, 31, “went 6-3 with a 2.65 ERA in 15 starts last season in Japan, striking out 98 and walking 26 in 85 innings.”
Prior to his stint in Japan, the southpaw was an All-Star with the Tampa Bay Rays. While with Tampa, he pitched in 96 games from 2011-2016, averaging a 3.88 ERA and 494 strikeouts. He was then traded to the Giants for Lucius Fox (minors), Michael Santos (minors), and Matt Duffy. Compared to his time with the Rays, his tenure in San Francisco was less than optimal. In 2017, he lost an MLB-high 15 games en route to a 5.52 ERA. The Giants released him, where he then signed as a free agent with the Texas Rangers. His ERA continued to inflate, so he got released again and then signed with the Detroit Tigers. He made two appearances for Detroit, where he pitched ten total innings, striking out three, only allowing one walk and no earned runs.
It’s no secret that Moore has had an up-and-down career. In his first start as a Phillie, he sat the first seven batters that he faced right down. However, he then began to lose some command and allowed two runs in three and third innings. He’ll follow that start-up against the Atlanta Braves, a team he has only faced one other time in his career. Back in 2017, he pitched seven innings for the San Francisco Giants and only allowed three runs on seven hits against Atlanta.
I’ll take, “Name a random former Phillie” for $400,” Alex.
The veteran Southpaw was signed by Philadelphia in July of 2019 as a replacement piece after the back end of the Phillies’ rotation was either awful or injured. The 31-year-old journeyman has also had an up and down career. Through eight MLB seasons, he has a 35-35 record and a 4.12 ERA. He started 12 games for the Phillies in 2019, where picked up 68 strikeouts en route to a 4.45 ERA.
In his first start as a member of the Braves, he performed toward the top of his peak. He allowed two runs in six innings pitched against the Washington Nationals. He’ll look to keep this momentum trending upward, as he has had success against the Phillies’ batters.
Those numbers are a very small sample size, but they’re statistics nonetheless. This will also be his first start against Philadelphia in his career, so this game could go either way for Smyly.
Players to Watch:
It isn’t a secret that we may not see Matt Moore go deep into this game. If this start is anything like his first start in 2021, the Phillies should be satisfied if he gets through at least five innings. If that’s the case, then the Phillies’ new and improved bullpen could be relied on to finish and potentially win this game.
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Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire