Jamie Moyer couldn't last four innings, and Freddy Garcia's arm went dead in the series opener. As a result, the second-worse offense in the American League shellacked Phillies' pitching for 25 runs, 12 charged to the starters, in two buzz-killing losses in KC.
The Inquirer ran the headline "Puzzling Phils fall to Royals, 17-5," but what’s puzzling about it? Isn’t the answer embedded right in the headline? The Phillies alternated extremes, sandwiching Jon Lieber's fresh bacon with two moldy slabs of pumpernickel. Garcia, the subject of a scathing entry by Bill Conlin this morning, finally admitted to pitching hurt as everyone expected, save for those signing $10 million checks. Yesterday, ancient left-hander Jamie Moyer was positively crushable, and the wise old crow knew it.
"I didn't throw the ball well," Moyer told the Inquirer. "I stunk ... I didn't throw the ball very well at all. I made some mistakes in the middle of the plate. I got behind hitters. I walked too many people. I didn't help the cause at all. It starts with pitching."
After Moyer feathered breaking balls right over the heart of the plate, the bullpen, which was a strength in the Mets' series, hemorrhaged eight earned runs, including two on wild pitches from Jose Mesa. Ryan Madson allowed three runs in the sixth inning, putting the game out of reach. The Royals, near the bottom in most offensive categories, embarrassed the Phillies further with two in the seventh and six in the eighth.
I can’t get into much detail here. By this time, I was playing Scrabble with the in-laws. As for Mesa, the Phillies are paying him a prorated sum of $250,000, making it easy to cut bait. Needing to make a roster move for Wednesday's start, they should already consider it.
Other news: Today, the Phillies are expected to announce Garcia’s replacement for Wednesday’s start. We discussed Kyle Kendrick and Bubba Nelson yesterday. The Inquirer sees J.D. Durbin as another possibility, but I don't. Durbin was passed back and forth by several teams early this season and was claimed off waivers by the Phillies and stashed in Triple-A Ottawa. Based on the numbers and earlier reports, he doesn’t appear ready to handle major league hitters. International League hitters are batting .304 off him and he isn't finding the strike zone.
In my estimation, Double-A right-hander Kyle Kendrick is the best option.
OPS notes: Catcher Rod Barajas is starting to push his way back into regular action, starting two games this series and going 2-for-7 with a double, homer and walk. His OPS stands at .790 while Carlos Ruiz is at .706 ... After watching his OPS crank up to .764 in late May, Abraham Nunez went hitless this series as his numbers continue to plummet. Nuni is just 3-26 in June (.115 average). Wes Helms' .610 OPS is the worst on the team and .355 points below where he finished last season (.965).