The Florida Marlins have a big hurdle in front of them as they start a crucial six-game road trip.
Florida (59-53) enters this series 2 1/2 games behind Philadelphia (61-50). After their set with the Phillies, the Marlins head to Shea Stadium for three games against the New York Mets, who are three games out of first in the division.
“It’s obviously a really big road trip for us,” first baseman Mike Jacobs told the Marlins’ official Web site. “We just have to win (both) series and take what’s coming.”
If history is any indication, the first game on the trip could be the toughest for Florida. Moyer (10-6, 3.79 ERA) has won each of his 10 starts against the Marlins, including three this season, while posting a 3.03 ERA.
“He’s such a good pitcher, sometimes he can use a team’s aggressiveness against them,” Philadelphia closer Brad Lidge said. “Florida has a very aggressive team - they hit a lot of home runs. Jamie’s style matches up good against them. He’s such a master of what he’s doing, he can see what they’re swinging at and move it a couple of inches.”
A few Florida hitters have had their share of success against Moyer - Jacobs is 6-for-14 (.429) with three homers all-time against the 45-year-old left-hander, while Hanley Ramirez is 9-for-29 (.310) with four homers - but so far it hasn’t been enough.
“I’ve been asked this same question many times,” Moyer said when asked about his perfect record against the Marlins. “I don’t have an answer. They’re all good hitters. They give you good at-bats. They battle. … It’s a matter of making pitches.”
Moyer gave up three runs, all on a pair of first-inning homers, and lasted six innings in Wednesday’s 8-5 win in Washington. He is 3-0 over his last five starts.
Now, Moyer will be trying to lead the Phillies to their eighth win in nine games. They took two of three in St. Louis over the weekend, including Sunday’s 5-4 victory.
The Marlins lost for the third time in seven games on Sunday, 3-2 to Colorado. Jorge Cantu had two hits and is 17-for-53 (.321) during a 12-game hitting streak.
“This has been forgotten already,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said of the loss. “(On Monday), we’ll fly up to Philly and deal with Jamie Moyer, try to figure out that one first.”
Facing Moyer will be Josh Johnson (1-0, 4.18), who is coming off his first win since Aug. 28, 2006. In his fourth start since returning from reconstructive elbow surgery in August 2007, the right-hander gave up four runs in 6 2-3 innings to beat the Mets 7-5 on Wednesday.
“Two years, wow,” Johnson said when told how long ago his last victory had been. “Time flies, I guess.”
The Marlins are 4-0 when Johnson starts this season.
Johnson gave up two runs in 6 2-3 innings of Florida’s 11-inning, 3-2 win over Philadelphia on July 20. He is 1-1 with a 4.64 ERA in five career appearances - three starts - against the Phillies.