When Jamie Moyer takes to the mound Saturday night at Citizens Bank Park he will be the second oldest pitcher ever to pitch in the World Series. At age 45, Moyer has been a steady hand all year for the Philadelphia Phillies, going 16-7 with a 3.71 ERA.
However, Moyer has been shakier than usual in his two postseason starts this year. He only managed to go four innings against the Milwaukee Brewers, giving up two earned runs. He was considerably worse against the Los Angeles Dodgers, allowing six hits and six earned in only 1.1 innings.
Both of his starts in the playoffs came on the road, but this time Moyer will have a chance to pitch in front of the home crowd. I think having the fans behind him will give Moyer the edge that he hasn't had so far in the playoffs.
Moyer also relies on an umpire that will somewhat stretch the strike zone. He didn't receive any help from the home-plate umpires against the Brewers or Dodgers on the road. Perhaps he will get some close calls at the Bank.
None of this will matter if the Phillies can't get their offense going. They squeaked out a Game One victory behind superb pitching from Cole Hamels, Ryan Madson, and Brad Lidge.
In Game Two, there was no problem getting guys on base or in scoring position. The problem lay in not being able to put the ball in play once the runners were on.
The Phillies struck out five separate times with runners in scoring position with less than two out. Obviously, this is unacceptable and must be corrected if the Phillies are serious about winning the World Series.
In order for Moyer to have a productive Game Three start, he will have to go at least five innings and not give up more than three earned runs. Three earned might sound like a lot to give up in only five innings, but with the Phillies' offense he should feel confident and obligated to put up at least four runs for Moyer.
Some Phillies fans have questioned starting Moyer after his first two games in the playoffs, but I happen to agree with Charlie Manuel when he says that Jamie Moyer earned this start.
If he does earn a victory in his first ever World Series start after 22 years of Major League service, Moyer will be the oldest pitcher ever to win a World Series game, and will go down in history forever.
Some other questions that will be answered in Game Three: Can Matt Garza baffle hitters like he did against the Boston Red Sox in the ALCS? Will the National League no DH rule have any effect on the game? Will the forecast rain be a positive for Philly and their crowd and a negative for Tampa Bay?