Thursday, August 21, 2008

Scouting Report: Nationals at Phillies (8/21)

It's going to have to be an abbreviated preview today. Here's what I have:

--Guzman is back, meaning that we have 25 players available for the first time in almost a month. Assuming there aren't any surprises or late scratches.

--Jamie Moyer is going for Philly. He's posted a 2.50 ERA since we last saw him, including 7 innings of shut-out, 3-hit ball last week against the Friars. Otherwise, I don't have anything to add to this segment of the preview from July 30, when the Phillies beat the Nationals and Redding 8-5:
Jamie Moyer: I'll be honest. I don't understand how Moyer does it. But not one else really does either, so I'm not alone. I figured that the move to Philly would be the death of him. Going from the pitcher-friendly Safeco to the bandbox in Philly seemed like a disaster in the making. Indeed, his ERA jumped to 5.01 last year, and he was much worse than that in the second half.

But then something funny happened. This year, his ERA dropped to 3.76, his best since 2003 when he was just 40. Recently, he's been even better. In his last 8 starts, his ERA is 2.86. People have been predicting his demise for more than a decade. But it hasn't happened yet.

He throws an 81-mph fastball, a 79 mph cutter, a74 mph change-up, and an occasional curve that clocks in at 67. He has impeccable control, keeps the ball down, pounds the corners and keeps batters off balance by mixing his array of off-speed junk. It's kind of amazing to watch actually.
--Redding goes for the Nationals. I'm going to recycle this from the preview of his last start against Colorado (just tack a 4-run, 6 inning performance that raised his ERA to 4.66, and I have nothing to add):
Here's his ERA after his last four starts: 3.98, 4.34, 4.44, and 4.61. Not exactly the trend-line you look for in a pitcher once considered a tradeable commodity.

What's the problem? Well, part of it is that he's faced some stiff opposition--Phillies, Rockies in Coors, and Brewers. But he's also walking more, especially in his last start in Milwaukee, when he walked five. He's a slight flyball pitcher, and a few more of those have gone out. That's more regression to the mean than bad luck though. The rest of his numbers are pretty much the same.
--Fearless Prediction (season record: 17-11): I'm not picking a win until they show me a win. Phillies, 6-1.

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