The Phillies are (or aren’t!) about to trade for Pirates starting pitcher Tyler Anderson. Anderson may not be the best pitcher in the league, but he typically pitches past the fifth inning and gives his team a chance to win. That would make him a welcome addition to the Phillies’ rotation because too often, their starters don’t perform at a competent level.
Take Tuesday night’s game for example. Matt Moore - who could be bumped from the rotation if the trade does go through - allowed six runs in four innings. He - aided by some particularly poor defense by shortstop Didi Gregorius - gave up three-run home runs in each of the first two innings, putting the Phillies in a deep hole from which they would not recover. The result was a 6-4 loss to the Washington Nationals.
The only reason the Phillies even made a game of it was because Erick Fedde was starting for the Nationals, and the Phillies hitters - especially Bryce Harper - seem to love facing him. Harper had another big night, doubling home a run in the first and then adding another on an inside-the-park home run in the fifth.
ARE YOU SERIOUS:— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) July 28, 2021
Bryce Harper inside the park home run!!! pic.twitter.com/5pr35nhfO9
When Andrew McCutchen followed that with a more conventional home run, it seemed like the Phillies were in business.
"Back-to-back home runs! One IN the park, one OUT of the park!"— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) July 28, 2021
Cutch follows up Bryce with a bomb out to left field! pic.twitter.com/kQjYMJDe1A
Unfortunately, four runs were all they could manage. They threatened in the eighth when with two men aboard, Andrew Knapp hit a deep shot to left, but sadly it died at the warning track. And in the ninth, despite being gifted a baserunner via error, the Phillies were unable to pull off another last-inning comeback against Nats closer Brad Hand.
This game showed why the Phillies absolutely need to make an upgrade to their rotation. In Moore’s nine starts, he’s only reached the sixth inning once. And that only happened because the Phillies needed him to absorb innings. If he’s going to give up six runs in his bad starts, his “good” starts need to be better than four innings long.
If the Phillies can’t find a way to finalize the deal for Anderson, then they need to trade for someone else. The group of Moore, Vince Velasquez, and Spencer Howard (not to mention Chase Anderson who might get another crack at it) have had far too many uncompetitive starts, and if the Phillies have any dreams of making the playoffs, they can’t afford too many more.