Moyer looks to remain unbeaten in his career against Florida as the Phillies (74-67) wrap up their three-game weekend series with the Marlins (61-81) on Sunday in what also will be their final regular-season meeting.
Philadelphia acquired Moyer from Seattle in August 2006 to provide another veteran arm for the stretch run. Philadelphia, though, finished a distant second in the NL East behind the New York Mets and fell three games short of winning the wild card as it missed the playoffs for the 13th straight season.
This year, the Phillies trail the Padres by three games for the wild card and will look to Moyer (12-11, 5.13 ERA) to help reduce that gap.
Moyer has won all three starts against the Marlins this season to improve to 6-0 with a 2.31 ERA lifetime when facing them. Though he’s been in the majors since 1986, it would be 20 years before Moyer would first face Florida.
But both Moyer and the Phillies have struggled recently. Moyer dropped to 1-3 with an 8.41 ERA over his last four starts after allowing four runs and nine hits in 5 2-3 innings of a 5-1 loss on Monday at Atlanta.
The Phillies, meanwhile, had lost five of their last six—including three in a row to the last-place Marlins—before a decisive 9-1 win on Saturday.
“That was a big game for us,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. `”We needed to put up some runs, and the bullpen did a heck of a job for us.”
Philadelphia’s embattled bullpen, with a 4.71 ERA coming in, pitched five scoreless innings in relief of John Ennis as he made his first start for the Phillies. Jimmy Rollins hit his career high 26th homer, and drove in two as did Greg Dobbs and Chris Coste.
“We’re not done yet,” Manuel said. “I say the more times you go to the post, one of these days you’re going to finish first.”
Philadelphia, though is six games behind the East-leading Mets, and the best chance of ending its postseason drought likely will have to come by winning the wild card. The Phillies entered September on a six-game winning streak and with a two-game division deficit.
“We haven’t been able to build off those wins,” Moyer told the Phillies’ official web site. “We’ve worked too hard to make up that ground and we have to find a way to take back some of that momentum.”
Florida’s Hanley Ramirez, the reigning NL Rookie of the Year, is 3-for-8 this season against Moyer with two solo homers.
The Phillies are 8-9 against the Marlins in 2007 and to earn a split of the season series, they’ll need to beat struggling Dontrelle Willis (8-14, 5.01) for the second time this year. The left-hander has lost his last two decisions and is 1-11 with a 5.14 ERA in 18 starts since June 3 with the Marlins posting a 4-14 record in that span when he takes the mound.
Against Washington on Tuesday, Willis gave up two runs, eight hits and struck out five in 7 1-3 innings, but didn’t get a decision as Florida allowed two runs in the ninth to fall 4-3.
“As long as you prepare yourself and go out there and play the best you can play, that’s all you can do,” Willis told the Marlins’ official Web site.
Willis is 1-1 with a 5.25 ERA over two starts in Philadelphia this year, and 8-6 with a 3.93 ERA in 20 career starts versus the Phillies.
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