(Sports Network) – While veteran Philadelphia Phillies hurler Jamie Moyer continues to climb the all-time wins list, he is also on the verge of securing a lesser wanted record.
The next home run Moyer yields will give him the most allowed in baseball history and he will try to avoid setting that mark this afternoon against the major-league leaders in homers, the Toronto Blue Jays, in the finale of a three-game series at Citizens Bank Park.
Moyer continues to impress at the age of 47, having won three of his last four starts and yielding two runs or fewer in four of his last five outings.
He has given up just three runs and five hits over his last two starts, both eight-inning wins, since getting hammered for nine runs over just one frame of work versus the Red Sox on June 11. Moyer held the Yankees to a pair of runs on June 16 before limiting the Indians to a run and two hits on Tuesday, upping his record to 8-6 with a 4.43 earned run average.
The southpaw recorded the 266th victory of his career last time out, matching Bob Feller and Eppa Rixey for 35th on the all-time list, but also served up the 505th homer of his pitching career to match the late former Phillie Robin Roberts for the most in baseball history.
“I always respected Robin as a person in the time he spent around here,” Moyer told Philadelphia’s website afterwards. "I believe today he’s probably smiling at me or laughing at me, one way or the other. The only thing I think about is I’ve had a lot of chances to be able to do that.
“It’s probably not a record that I’m most proud of, but I’m proud of the opportunity that I’ve had to have those chances.”
Moyer has faced the Blue Jays 39 times in his long career, all but two of those starts, and is 15-9 with a 5.41 ERA. He’ll try to keep the club in the ballpark tonight, something teammate Cole Hamels could not do on Saturday.
After former Blue Jay Roy Halladay gave the Phillies a victory in Friday’s opener, Hamels was touched for two-run homers by Alex Gonzalez and John Buck in Saturday’s 5-1 Toronto victory, while Aaron Hill added a solo shot to up the Jays’ team home run total to 114.
“Unfortunately, I wasn’t feeling as in sync as I possibly could have,” said Hamels, who lasted just four innings. “But you know when that happens you have to keep battling and unfortunately I left a couple pitches up in the zone and they were able to hit them out of the ballpark.”
While the Phillies failed to match a season high with a fifth straight victory, the Blue Jays won for the second time in six games thanks in part to Shaun Marcum’s six innings of work. He allowed just five hits, though one was a solo homer by the Phillies’ Ryan Howard.
The Blue Jays will now look to win this “home” set versus the Phillies. This series was shifted from the Rogers Centre to south Philadelphia back in May due to security concerns surrounding the city of Toronto’s hosting of world leaders in town for the G20 Summit. The Blue Jays are still being credited as the home team and are batting last in this series, while the DH rule is also in effect.
The shift of the series seemed like a smart move on Saturday, when protests of the summit in Toronto turned violent and featured the burning of police cars and vandalism of local stores amongst other things.
With that weighing on their minds, the Blue Jays send out Brett Cecil, who will look get back on track after giving up 11 runs in back-to-back losses following a five-start win streak in which he posted a 1.49 ERA.
The left-hander yielded five runs and seven hits in six innings of a setback to the Padres on June 15, then gave up six runs and eight hits over five innings versus the Cardinals on Tuesday. Cecil fell to 7-4 on the season with a 4.06 ERA and 0-2 with an undesirable 8.14 ERA in four career interleague starts.
“I’ve just got to get back to work on keeping the ball down,” Cecil, who has never faced the Phillies, told Toronto’s website. “The whole game, I was just missing up [in the strike zone]. Location-wise, in and out, it was OK. It’s just a matter of getting the ball back down. That’s about it.”
Cecil might not have to face Phillies third baseman Placido Polanco, who is hitting .318 this year but could sit a second straight game because of discomfort in his left elbow. That same injury forced Polanco to miss six games in late May and early June.
The Blue Jays won four of six versus the Phillies last year, taking all three games at Citizens Bank Park.