Phillies left-hander Jamie Moyer, a native of Sellersville, Bucks County, and Cubs right-hander Wade Miller, a native of Topton, Berks County, square off at Citizens Bank Park tonight.
I’ve followed the career of fellow Brandywine Heights High School grad Wade Miller with great interest since he was drafted by Houston in the 1996 draft. Once on the fast-track to a great career with Astros, part of a dynamic one-two punch with fellow right-hander Roy Oswalt, his career has been sadly derailed by serious shoulder problems. Tonight, he's taking another step toward recovery.
Before a frayed rotator cuff ended his season in 2004, Miller was considered one of the up-and-coming right-handers in the National League. His best seasons were 2001 and 2002 with the Astros, when he went 16-8 with a 3.40 ERA in '01 and 15-4 with a 3.28 ERA in '02. In 2003, he pitched through a pinched nerve and went 14-13 with a 4.13 ERA. Doctors believe the pain is what led to the frayed cuff, causing him to change an already unorthodox delivery. After the 2004 season, he was non-tendered by the Astros.
The 30-year-old right-hander spent much of the 2005 season on the disabled list because of problems with his shoulder and was non-tendered for the second time in two years by the Red Sox in December. He signed a one-year, $1.5 million contract with the Cubs before this season, including $3 million in performance bonuses based on innings and roster time.
The road back has been rocky. This is only his third start after missing most of the season recovering from shoulder surgery, and is 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA. Lifetime against the Phillies, Miller is 0-3 with a 4.22 ERA in six career appearances. He has not pitched here since 2003.
The Phillies will counter with Jamie Moyer, who's 2-2 with a 4.35 ERA since coming over from Seattle. It would be wise for Moyer to avoid red-hot third-baseman Aramis Ramirez. A-Ram homered twice and had a career-high seven RBIs for the Cubs yesterday. The Cubs are looking for their fourth-consecutive victory.
Following last night's wild finish in Los Angeles, the Phillies now trail San Diego by 1.5 games in the National League Wild Card race.