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Moyer Struggles Early, Phils Fall to Braves 4-0

April 7, 2009
by Christine Cartafalsa

"During the worst economic crisis in 70 years, the Phils have sold 4000 more season-ticket packages than a year ago. Attendance at the opener was officially listed at 102.4 percent by Major League Baseball. These fans spent their hard-earned money to see a champion perform.

On Sunday night, that champion played like a pack of dogs, so the fans did what all good fans should do in a case like that. They booed."
- Angelo Cataldi, Philadelphia Metro 4-7-09

Tonight the fans kept their boos to themselves. Instead, frustrated over another disappointing game by their heroes of 2008, they left before it finally succumbed to its brutal finale.

Passing Sunday's loss off as possible home-opener jitters, the fans kept their chins up and their hearts filled with hope. After all, it was only the first game and there are 161 more to go. They turned to old faithful Jamie Moyer for a little of what made the Phillies world champions.

They didn't get it.

Moyer quieted the buzz around the stadium quickly by giving up a home run to Atlanta second baseman Kelly Johnson on his very first pitch of the night and it seemed as though it would be all downhill from there. Two more hits later and an error by Chase Utley that brought a second run in, Atlanta already led the Phillies by two runs in the first - an uncanny, mirror-like image of the previous game. Although Moyer seemed to recover nicely (as he usually does) for the following three innings, he faltered once again in the fifth when a Chipper Jones became the second Braves player of the night to go deep and Moyer didn't return to the game in the sixth.

However, like Brett Myers in the home opener, Moyer did not exactly leave rest of the team with a deficit that could not be overcome. Charlie Manuel shuffled his lefties around a bit, batting Jason Werth fifth, but this did not make a difference for the offense. The Phillies produced a total of six hits and were also given four free passes by Atlanta pitching (three by starting pitcher Jair Jurrjens) but these were in vain as almost all bases were reached when there were already two outs, leaving very little room for sacrifices to move a runner over or, perhaps, bring one home. In all, Phillies stranded a total of 11 runners.

There is good news. Ryan Howard displayed rather unexpected phenomenal versatility covering first tonight and left fielder Raul Ibanez has hopefully warmed the crowd up a little by a dead-on throw to catcher Carlos Ruiz in the fourth, stopping a possible fifth run for the Braves by Casey Kotchman.


Angelo Cataldi's words above speak nothing short of 100 percent truth. Granted, it is only the second game and, no, the Phillies or any other team cannot perform based on what they may "owe" the fans. Champions or not, no team should be counted on to enter a season scoring a minimum of 15 runs while the pitchers shut out each and every inning. The elements are there - a long break between seasons, the players are still tweaking themselves into playing mode, it's cold, etc. Still in awe of the amazing ride the Fightins took them on in 2008, economic crisis or no economic crisis, the fans will continue to show up.

It would just be really nice if the Phillies would, too.

Christine Cartafalsa can be contacted at or via her My Space page at


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