Phillies beat reporter Matt Gelb announced yesterday that Matt Moore will be making another start for the Phillies on Saturday afternoon against the Padres.
Phillies rotation will go Velasquez/Nola/Eflin vs. Marlins and Wheeler/Moore for first two vs. Padres. Spencer Howard starts tonight.— Matt Gelb (@MattGelb) June 28, 2021
This comes as quite a surprise, since Matt Moore was demoted from the Phillies starting rotation just three starts into the season due to what experts refer to as “bad pitching.” He was given the opportunity to start another game on June 25 because the Phillies were playing a double-header and needed a sixth starter. After that, however, the most likely sequence of events was that he would return to the bullpen and take David Hale’s place as the long man. But Matt Moore seemed to have a different idea.
Girardi when asked what Moore’s role is: “I don’t know … I haven’t really had a whole time to think about it.”— Destiny Lugardo (@destiny_lugardo) June 26, 2021
Moore when asked the same question: “Kind of figured I am in the rotation right? … I went to Triple-A, building up as a starter. As far as I know that’s the plan.”
So what’s going on here? The Phillies already have Wheeler, Nola, Eflin, Velasquez, and Howard/Falter in the starting rotation. As of June 25, the only person who seemed to think Matt Moore would be in the rotation was Matt Moore himself. And now, out of nowhere, he’s been slotted back into the mix? How did this happen?
Well, luckily for you dear reader, The Good Phight has the answer. Late last night, a package arrived at the house where all The Good Phight writers live together. Inside was a tape recorder and a note that said, “Press Play.” So, of course, I pressed play, and this is what I heard.
Caleb Cotham (pitching coach): Okay, so Howard will start on Monday night against the Reds, then we’ll go to Velasquez, Nola, Eflin, Wheeler, and then we’re right back at Howard again for Saturday afternoon against the Padres. Sound good?
Joe Girardi (manager): Okay, so, um... maybe this is a crazy idea, but what about throwing Matt Moore in there somewhere?
Cotham: Hasn’t he kind of sucked this year?
Girardi: No, you’re thinking of Matt Joyce. Speaking of whom, maybe we should hit him leadoff next game!
Sam Fuld (general manager): Joe, we’ve been over this. Matt Joyce is injured and also a terrible leadoff hitter.
Girardi: Exactly! Which is why we should give the start on Saturday to Matt Moore, not Matt Joyce.
Rob Thomson (bench coach): Good point Joe, great point! (He starts to clap for Joe, no one else joins in.)
Cotham: No, stop. Why would we start Matt Moore? We already have a full rotation.
Girardi: You can never have too much pitching. Babe Ruth said that.
Fuld: No he didn’t.
Girardi: Come on guys, can’t we just give Matt Moore a chance? What do you think, Dusty?
Dusty Wathan (third base coach): Uh, scissors. Wait no, rock. What did you say?
Cotham: We already gave Moore a chance, Joe. Several chances.
Fuld: Let’s just put him back in the bullpen. You’re always talking about the importance of long men on the staff. That’s why we kept David Hale for so f***ing long!
Girardi: David Hale is closing tonight by the way.
Rob Thomson: Now that’s forward thinking. What a manager! (He stands up and starts to clap, and once again no one joins him.)
Fuld: Stop changing the subject Joe. You know we DFA’d Hale. What’s going on here?
Girardi: Okay, well, you see… the thing is... I might have already promised Matt the job.
Matt Klentak pops his head in.
Matt Klentak: Did someone say they have a job for ol’ Matt? Finally! I have so many ideas, we could...
Fuld: Not you!
Sam Fuld snaps his fingers, and Assistant General Manager Ned Rice shooes Matt Klentak away with a broom. “I’m sorry Matt!” he cries. “I’m so sorry!”
Girardi: As I was saying, I kinda sorta maybe told Matt Moore he could rejoin the rotation. And a promise is a promise.
Cotham: You did WHAT? Why didn’t you ask me first?
Girardi: You were busy doing that thing you do where you go out to the mound in the middle of the inning and you don’t make a double-switch. What’s that called again?
Fuld: We don’t have a spot for him, Joe. Matt Moore can’t be in the rotation.
Girardi: Then you should have told him that while he was rehabbing in Triple-A! He spent that whole time thinking he was working his way back to the rotation. What was I supposed to do, hurt his feelings? You should’ve seen the puppy dog look on his face!
Fuld: This is the big leagues Joe, we have to make tough decisions.
Girardi: The Yankees would never hurt anybody’s feelings. That was the number one rule.
Cotham: I played for Yankees, I know that’s not true!
Girardi: (mimicking) I played for Yankees, I know that’s not true!
Cotham: I can’t deal with this anymore, Sam. Just let him do whatever he wants. Matt Moore is a starter, Neftali Feliz is the closer, Zach Eflin can play third base, and Aaron Nola can embark on a journey around the world and discover the true pleasure of eating in Italy, praying in India, and loving in Indonesia. I don’t care!
Girardi: So Matt Moore can start on Saturday?
Girardi: Great! And one more thing, it’s a bullpen strategy that always worked for me with the Yankees. What if we tried just having Mariano Rivera on our team?
Rob Thomson: Great idea Joe! What a manager!
Caleb Cotham lunges at Joe Girardi. The audio recording goes fuzzy, and then the tape clicks off.