When Charlie Manuel set his playoff rotation, it was calming to see Jamie Moyer pitching the first game in Milwaukee. Having the veteran leader of the staff opening in a hostile environment seemed perfect. But now that game three could also be the series clincher for the Phils, somehow it’s even more perfect.
Moyer has been nothing short of a rock this season. And he has come up big in big spots. He was the one who clinched both NL East titles with fine pitching performances. He was the one who stopped losing streaks dead in their tracks. Some may call him an ace — I call him the necessity.
Big-game Moyer is 4-0 with a 3.26 ERA in September. And for your comfort, he’s 1-0 with a respectable 3.09 ERA against Milwaukee this season.
Todd Zolecki spoke to Moyer about his preparation and thought process going into this big game. To Moyer, it’s not a big game at all:
“In spring training you’re trying to get your feet underneath you. As you go through the druthers of the season, the positive and negatives of the season, you try to build from that. So when you do get into the postseason, you don’t try to turn it into something that it’s really not. It’s still a baseball game. That game tomorrow is no different than the game two months ago or three months ago.”
Zolecki also cajoled Moyer into recalling a time when he didn’t follow his philosophy — the last game before the 1993 All-Star break.
Moyer had Baltimore’s final start before the all-star break. But because the Orioles hosted the All-Star Game, Moyer got caught up in the pregame hoopla in the clubhouse. He went out and the Chicago White Sox rocked him.
Impressive. A — That Zolecki got that out of Moyer. B — That Moyer can recall that one game. C — That he looks back at that game and still shakes his head.
This guy is the right guy for tonight. The attitude, the experience, the drive. And then there’s the pitching — I’m confident that if Moyer does his thing (low fastballs, hitting corners, mixing his changeup, making batters swing) he’ll be incredibly productive on the mound. The Phils need him to set a tone tonight, and they need the bats to follow him. Just as they needed it last Saturday. And Sept. 30, 2007. And so on.