Matt Moore has answered one question about Phillies' season-opening rotation

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There was some uncertainty entering camp about the back of the Phillies’ rotation, but it’s clear by March 14 that Matt Moore will be the No. 4 starter, barring injury.

Moore has made three excellent appearances this spring. The latest was Sunday in Bradenton when he allowed one baserunner in four innings on a solo home run against the Pirates.

Moore’s line this spring: 8 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, K

The most important number is the walk total. Whether it’s March or August, walks bother a pitcher. Moore’s biggest flaw in the past has been control. This is a guy who, even at his best in 2013 when he went 17-4 with a 3.29 ERA with the Rays, walked 76 batters in 150 innings.

He thinks he’s corrected that through the years and is back in the majors on a one-year, $3 million deal with the Phillies after a season in Japan.

“He’s ahead in the count all the time and he’s allowed to use all his pitches and expand (the strike zone) when he needs to,” manager Joe Girardi said. “He had another outstanding day today.”

If Moore can avoid injury, he’ll be the first left-hander to make consistent starts for the Phillies since Cole Hamels in 2015. Yes, since Cole Hamels. Adam Morgan made 21 starts in 2016 but that was his final year in the rotation. Jason Vargas made 11 forgettable starts for the 2019 Phils after the trade deadline.

“I’m happy with where I’m at physically and mentally this early in spring,” Moore said. “I’m not known for being a (fast) starter, but I think playing later in the season last year in (Japan) made me more ready for an early start.

“It’s been an easy transition considering the protocols of the virus and just being a new guy coming over and only knowing a handful of guys. I can’t complain. I’m focused on the short term, like my day tomorrow.

“Throw strike one and continue to build from there.”

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