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06/11/10 12:58 AM ET

Moyer hopes to fuel fountain of youth at Fenway

For the longest time, Fenway Park was considered anathema to left-handed pitchers, due to the proximity of The Green Monster. Southpaws who hung a few breaking pitches to right-handed sluggers suddenly felt older.

That myth has pretty much been laid to rest over the years, mostly by offspeed pitches on the outside corner.

So Philadelphia's Jamie Moyer, a pitcher who calls out "Hey, kid!" to get Tim Wakefield's attention, will take his chances in the shadow of The Wall.

Maybe if he tenders another performance similar to his recent work, the 47-year-old Moyer, who will be opposed by Boston right-hander John Lackey in the opener of the Interleague series, will suddenly feel younger.

Moyer has certainly been pitching younger, posting a 2.83 ERA over his past six starts, which have included two complete games. Lackey has had one complete game since August 2008.

The most recent of those route-going efforts by Moyer, against San Diego on Saturday, was for his 100th win since he turned 40. Two other long-winded pitchers have done that. One of them, Phil Niekro, was 1-4 past his 40th birthday in that pitchers' heaven, Fenway Park. The other, Jack Quinn, actually regularly pitched in Fenway as a 40-plus member of the 1922-24 Red Sox; yes, he was a right-hander.

If the quirky park is so annoying to pitchers, reason the Phillies, perhaps this is where they can climb out of a month-long offensive hole. The recent Lackey could also be a stimulant -- in his first Boston season, opponents have hit .296 against him, 32 points above the career opponents' average he had brought over from the Angels.

Rather than having his overall numbers spoiled by an occasional horrendous outing, Lackey has been fighting himself consistently. He has allowed four-plus earned runs in four of his past six starts.

Yet winning has been no problem for him in Fenway Park, thanks to appreciated support. He has won four consecutive home decisions, backed by 26 runs in those starts.

That's the sort of offensive stimulus the Phillies will be looking for after scoring a total of 51 runs while going 7-14 since leading the National League East by five games on May 17. They have been shut out six times in that stretch, and held to one run on five other occasions.

The first of those shutouts was administered by Daisuke Matsuzaka during the teams' earlier Interleague set, May 21-23 in Citizens Bank Park. So the Sox helped put the Phillies in their offensive funk. Now the Phils hope being in Boston will help them get out of it.

Phillies: Werth's struggles continue
Jayson Werth (0-for-3 against Marlins ace Josh Johnson on Thursday) is in another 0-for-13 rut that has lowered his batting average to .274.

Red Sox: Bad news for Ellsbury
Boston will have to do without sidelined outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury for at least two more weeks after further exams disclosed a previously undiagnosed fracture in his rib area. ... Dustin Pedroia ended the Red Sox's seven-game trip on a high note by going 2-for-5 in Thursday night's tough defeat in Cleveland. He had been 4-for-24 through the trek's first six games, including going hitless in 12 at-bats in the first three games against the Indians.

Worth noting
Thursday night's ninth-inning loss to the Indians resulted from the Red Sox's eighth blown save of the season, nearly half of their total of 18 last year. It was Boston's fifth walk-off defeat.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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