Matt Moore came out of the bullpen Tuesday because the Phillies wanted to give Vince Velasquez a start in the ongoing competition for a spot in the rotation.
The veteran lefty was unfazed.
Moore breezed through the third and fourth innings, allowing one hit and throwing only 22 pitches. He threw 17 strikes and got mostly weak contact on the ground (three groundouts) and in the air (three flyouts).
“His changeup was outstanding today,” manager Joe Girardi said after the Phillies’ 4-1 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays in Dunedin, Fla. “He’s done a really good job with controlling the counts.”
Moore said after his first start last week that getting ahead of hitters is his primary goal early in spring training. He has pitched four scoreless innings thus far in two games and is a favorite to claim either the fourth- or fifth-starter job.
Another day, another extra-base hit for upstart center-field candidate Mickey Moniak.
This time, Moniak came off the bench and delivered a triple in the eighth inning against Blue Jays lefty reliever Ryan Borucki, who limited left-handed hitters to a .431 OPS last season. Moniak is 5-for-9 with one double, one triple, and two homers in Grapefruit League play.
It wasn’t Scott Kingery’s finest hour in the center-field race. He went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts, including a three-pitch whiff to open the game against Blue Jays starter Steven Matz.
Odubel Herrera, meanwhile, started in right field and went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts.
Connor Brogdon cranked up his fastball to 96 mph and made even quicker work of the Blue Jays in the fifth inning. The young reliever retired the side on 10 pitches, including a three-pitch strikeout of Chavez Young.
In his second spring-training appearance, Hector Neris faced five batters and recorded only two outs. He gave up a leadoff double to Marcus Semien, hit Teoscar Hernandez, and allowed a sacrifice fly by Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and a one-out RBI single to Tyler White.
The Phillies will host the Detroit Tigers at 1:05 p.m. Wednesday. Spencer Howard is expected to start, followed by Chase Anderson. The game will be televised on NBC Sports Philadelphia+.