When Jamie Moyer signed his 2 year, $13 million contract in December 2008, I thought the team was crazy. Giving a starting pitcher a guaranteed 8-figure two year contract for his age 46 and 47 seasons seemed asinine.
Last year, Moyer's performance gave those of us who were concerned about the contract reason to feel smug. In the first half of the season, his ERA was 5.99 with a WHIP of 1.49. Baseball's unthinking accounting system credited him with winning 8 games in the first half, but only because he got amazing run support. His second half was better, but much of the improved performance came as a relief pitcher, where he had a 1.93 ERA and 0.70 WHIP. When he was signed to his big contract, no one thought it would be to perform as a valuable middle reliever.
Coming into this year, Moyer had to prove his worth, as Kyle Kendrick showed dominant stuff in spring training. The Phillies were saved the tough decision between Moyer and Kendrick thanks to Joe Blanton's injury. Now that Blanton is back in the rotation, the Phillies still haven't had to make a decision between Moyer and Kendrick thanks to J.A. Happ's injury.
Whenever that decision gets made, though, it's hard to see Moyer losing out given his current performance. So far, he has a 4.30 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, and a 99 ERA+. But, looking a little deeper into these basic numbers shows that Moyer has been even better than that.
Moyer has pitched 52.3 innings so far this season. In those innings, he has given up 25 earned runs. However, 10 of those have come in 2 separate innings. On April 10, he gave up 5 runs to the Astros in the third inning. On April 17, he gave up 5 runs to the Marlins in the first inning. Since then, he hasn't given up a big inning like that.
If you take out those two innings, Moyer has a very different line for the year. In the remaining 50.3 innings, he has a 2.68 ERA and a 0.83 WHIP. Those numbers are sensational. In fact, they'd put him in competition for the title of staff ace.
Of course, we can't remove just two innings from Moyer's stats. Those innings happened. And any pitcher would like it if you excised their two worst innings from their game logs. However, these two early blips in Moyer's season mask his otherwise sensational start to the year.