John Smallwood: For Phillies veteran Moyer, consistency is his milestone

Posted: June 01, 2009

AT SOME point, when the decades-long journey that has been his major league career finally ends, Jamie Moyer said he'd likely reflect back on some of his individual achievements.

But yesterday, after a 4-2 victory over the Washington Nationals, during which he became the 44th pitcher - just the 11th lefthander - in major league history to earn his 250th career victory, Moyer wasn't thinking about the significance of that milestone.

Of more importance to Moyer was that he had made a solid start that resulted in the Phillies sweeping a three-game series just before they headed off on a road trip to San Diego, Los Angeles and New York.

"I really hadn't thought about it," Moyer said of reaching his 250th win. "For me, it takes so much effort to play, to prepare to play.

"I really believe that my focus has been on that, not milestones or numbers or personal things.

"I've been taught to play the game as a team, not an individual, and I really feel that's how I approach things. When you play 20-plus years, some of these things are going to happen. I'm proud to get my 250th win, but there is still a lot of baseball to play."

And that's why Moyer's fourth victory of the season has considerably more significance to the Phillies than the 250th of his career.

Moyer earned a win for the first time since April 26, but it was his third consecutive solid start.

In fact, Moyer had his best outing of the season, surrendering just one run and three hits in six innings. He struck four and walked none.

In his last three starts, Moyer has allowed eight earned runs, which is a big deal considering he had surrendered 19 in the three starts prior.

"I've been trying to create some consistency in myself," Moyer said. "I feel like in my last couple of outings I've been able to do that. The win beside my name wasn't there, but I wasn't as concerned with the win beside my name as I was the win besides the Phillies' name."

Things are magnified after the events of the last several days, since it was revealed that Brett Myers likely is going to be lost for the season due to hip surgery.

At some point, the Phillies probably will acquire another starter; in the meantime, they'll look for a substitute from within their own system.

But regardless of how a replacement for Myers is found, the key is going to be for the other starters - Moyer, Cole Hamels, Joe Blanton and J.A. Happ – not to become a concern.

And there was a point, 2 weeks ago, when Moyer was a real concern.

"It's unfortunate that Brett got hurt," Moyer said. "He's a big part of this team and pitching staff. We're all going to have to fill that void."

But with 2 decades of big-league experience, Moyer knows that does not mean someone trying to do more than he is capable of.

"I hope nobody tries to do that," Moyer said. "We just need to become more consistent as a starting rotation. Who they fill the void with will hopefully come in and pitch the way they are capable of pitching, not try to be Brett or somebody they are not."

Moyer said he has been down the road of trying to do more in order to end a bad stretch. The results were not good.

"What I've learned in the last couple of weeks is that I just went back to simple basics," he said. "I've been down this road a few times in my career, and I remember one time in Seattle when I went from bad to worse."

Moyer could well have been referring to July 29 to Aug. 24, 2000, when in six starts he was 0-5 with a 10.41 ERA for the Mariners. Opponents batted .369 against him and he gave up 55 hits and 15 walks in 32 innings.

"I couldn't snap out of it because I was trying to do things I was not capable of and had never done,'' Moyer said. "When thing are going right, I try to keep it simple. When things are going wrong, I really try to keep it simple. Sometimes you can get in your own way, and then you can't get out of it."

It's important that Moyer is coming out of his funk. It's important that Blanton threw seven shutout innings in his last start after struggling in his previous three.

It's important that closer Brad Lidge, who was the subject of much debate just 5 days ago after blowing four saves in 12 attempts, recorded his third consecutive try yesterday, pitching a one-two-three ninth.

"I've been talking all year that our pitching needs to be consistent," manager Charlie Manuel said. "We've lost a guy at the front of our rotation.

"It's very important that we pitch everyday on a consistent basis." *

Send e-mail to

smallwj@phillynews.com.

For recent columns, go to

http://go.philly.com/smallwood.

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