Rain Delay Should Give Phillies an Idea

The Phillies were looking for a spot to use Jamie Moyer and they found one. The problem is that the opportunity to use him has been staring them in the face all along.

Nobody knows for sure how deep into last night's game Pedro Martinez could have pitched. After a shaky start, he had retired eight straight hitters when the rains came and washed out the rest of his home debut in South Philadelphia.

In his three innings of work, Martinez had thrown 38 pitches - 26 for strikes - which would have allowed him to pitch at least six or seven innings if he were able to hold his pitch count steady. That may be an anomaly though, because the days of Pedro pitching deep into games are over. He may be better than the "five inning pitcher" that manager Charlie Manuel referred to him as prior to his signing, but he's probably not much more.

Then again, neither is Jamie Moyer.

Moyer, at age 46, can't be counted on to pitch deep into games, but he does still have some gas in his career tank as he showed last night.

Perhaps, it was Martinez who said it best after the game: "You never know what you'll put together when you put two old goats out there. It's a scary combination," Martinez told the Philadelphia Inquirer of joining forces with his elder.

In fact, Martinez and Moyer would provide a scary combination if they were to be used in tandem with each other. Martinez can still get the ball up there in the low-90s, while Moyer is more of a laid back, let them put the ball in play type of pitcher at this point in his career. Plus, Moyer is a lefty and Martinez is a righty. The two actually make a very nice compliment to each other and could be used effectively if they were used together.

Pedro Martinez and Jamie Moyer could make a rather formidable combination if they were used in tandem with each other. It certainly worked well Tuesday night when a rain delay cut Martinez' nighs short and Moyer came to the rescue.
(Photo: Matt Slocum/AP)
The biggest reason for combining the two starters is that neither has a lot left in their arms. Moyer is wearing down toward the end of a long and strong career and needs a break. Part of the reason why he was so strong against Arizona Tuesday night - six shutout innings, allowing just two hits and no walks, while striking out five - is likely because he had extended time off. Moyer hadn't pitched since August 9 and was able to restore himself a little thanks to the layoff.

With Martinez, there's no telling how hard he can go for how long. He had the first half of the season to rest, but at 37, he too could be nearing the end of his illustrious career and the Phillies can't be sure how much is left. In eight innings of work, he's got a 4.50 ERA, but his overall numbers at Citizens Bank Park aren't good.

If both Martinez and Moyer were just being counted on for four or five innings max, both would likely have enough left to finish the season in strong fashion. You also wouldn't wear down the core of the bullpen by piecing together the last few innings of a game if you simply figured on Moyer and Martinez working together.

Who would start? It depends. Since Martinez isn't too strong at Citizens Bank Park, perhaps he would start more road games than home games. Moyer is particularly strong against the Florida Marlins, so perhaps you want him to start against them, or maybe Charlie would decide that he wanted Moyer to shut them down later in the game. It also wouldn't have to be a hard-and-fast rule on who would start or who would throw more innings. If the starting pitcher comes out and just doesn't have it, go to the other one a little earlier. If the starter is on fire, push back the other pitcher's entrance.

In Moyer and Martinez, you have two pitchers that deserve respect and who can each help the club. But you also have two pitchers who are powered by a much lower octane fuel than most major league pitchers. Why push it? Instead, make the most out of it and enjoy the results. Tuesday night's win over Arizona showed what the combination of Moyer and Martinez could do, so why not let each pitch to their strength and not look for more than is fair to expect out of either of them?

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