Matt Moore should be locked in as the Phillies’ fourth in the starting rotation
Entering Spring Training, the Philadelphia Phillies were still looking for their fourth and fifth pitcher for their starting rotation. Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler, and Zach Eflin were certified locks heading into camp, with Matt Moore, Chase Anderson, Spencer Howard, and Vincent Velasquez looking to fill the final two spots before Opening Day on April 1st.
It would appear that Matt Moore has landed the fourth spot in the rotation barring any setbacks or injuries. Moore has been excellent this spring for the Phillies. Yesterday against the Pirates, Moore pitched four innings, allowing one hit, one earned run (solo HR), while striking out three. This Spring, he has pitched eight innings, allowing just three hits and just one earned run.
Moore, a free agent signing over the offseason, previously played in the MLB for the Tampa Bay Rays, San Francisco Giants, Texas Rangers, and Detroit Tigers. Most recently, Moore has pitched in Japan for the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks and performed well. Most notably, On November 24, 2020 in Game 3 of the 2020 Japan Series, Moore pitched seven no-hit innings with five strikeouts. He ended the season with a 2.65 ERA.
In his Major League Baseball experience, Moore was an All-Star in 2013, a season in which he went 17-4 with a 3.29 ERA over 27 starts and 150 1/3 innings. Moore last pitched in the MLB in 2019 with the Tigers, but suffered season-ending knee surgery early on in the season.
Moore will be the first left-hander to make consistent starts for the Phillies since Cole Hamels in 2015. Yes, it has really been that long since the Phillies had a left handed arm in their starting rotation. We are not counting Adam Morgan, who made 21 starts in 2016 and we are definitely not counting Jason Vargas, who made 11 embarrassing starts in 2019 for the Phillies after the trade deadline.
It’s likely that Chase Anderson will land the fifth and final spot in the rotation. From there, the Phillies will need to decide what to do with Spencer Howard and Vincent Velasquez. Howard, who has also pitched well this Spring, might be the odd man out. Archie Bradley has been vocal about moving Howard to the bullpen. I couldn’t agree more. Sure, Howard could go down to Triple-A and pitch in the starting rotation against minor league talent. It would be beneficial to have him do so, but I would much rather have him in the bullpen as a “long-inning” reliever facing Major League talent. There’s no doubt that Howard will find his way back to the rotation if he pitches well.
The Phillies will play the Yankees in Tampa today at 1:05pm. Chase Anderson will be on the mound. Another unanswered question lies in centerfield. Today we will have all contenders in the lineup, with Herrera, Kingery, and Quinn all playing.
- McCutchen DH
- Hoskins 3
- Gregorius 6
- Segura 4
- Herrera 8
- Kingery 7
- Chatham 5
- Quinn 9
- Mathis 2
- Anderson RHP