The third game of the 2008 World Series will be played tonight in Citizens Bank Park. The game is scheduled to start at 8:22 pm Easten time, after the rain finally ends. The Phillies starter will be Jamie Moyer (0-0, -.–), who is coming off a bad start, his second in the post-season, against the Dodgers on October 12 in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series, where he would only pitch an inning and a third, giving up six earned runs on six hits, while striking out only two, in the Phillies’ 7-2 lost. In the post-season, his record is 0-2 with a rather high ERA of 13.50, as he would only go five and one-third innings, giving up eight earned runs on ten hits and three walks, while striking only five. His regular season record was 16-7 with a 3.71 ERA in thirty-three starts, as he would give up 85 runs, 81 of which were earned, on 199 hits and 62 walks, while striking out 123 batters in 196 and a third innings of work. Moyer will be trying to regain his late season form, going through a large number of innings while giving up very few runs, hoping to give the Phillies a 2-1 series lead over the much younger Rays, planning to use his longer experience and his wits against their youth and aggressiveness. The Rays’s starter will be Matt Garza (0-0, -.–), who will be coming off a victory against the Red Sox on October 19, as he pitched seven strong innings, giving up only one earned run on two hits and three walks, while striking out nine, in the Rays’ 3-1 win over the Red Sox, clinching the pennant and winning himself the American League Championship Series MVP. In the post-season, Garza’s record is 2-1 with an ERA of 3.32, as he pitched nineteen innings, giving up seven earned runs on fifteen hits and ten walks, while striking out eighteen. During the regular season, his record was 11-9 with an ERA of 3.70 in thirty starts, as he gave up 83 runs, 76 of which were earned, on 170 hits and 59 walks, while he struck out 128 batters in 184 and two-thirds innings. He will be trying to be as dominant against the Phillies’ batters as he was in his two starts against the Red Sox, hoping that the Phillies’ bat won’t take coming back to Philadelphia as a good reason to break loose.
The key for the Phillies tonight will be first for Jamie Moyer to regain his regular form, using his past experience and his wits against a bunch of young guns who will probably be expecting to feast on his slow stuff. If he does, the Rays’ batters will find themselves in for a long night. At the same time, the Phillies’ offense needs to rebound from its dismal start and start knocking in runners in key situations by using both patient and strategic hitting. They may be forced to have to use plays like the suicide and safety squeeze, like the Rays did in the fourth inning last night, to push runs across the plate when they have less than two men outs and a runner on third. It might look cheap, but if they’ll help to jump start the Phils’ offense, then they should use it. Just plain old fundemental baseball. Among which wil be to stop trying to swing for the fences when being willing to give up an out for a run will do the trick. Another key will be, once again, for Jimmy Rollins to get on base, and for him to stop swinging at high fastballs. If that would require him to change his batting stance, then change his stance. At the moment, he is not catching up with those pitches. And lastly, Ryan Howard will need to continue what he did last night, as he is way over due for an offensive break out. The big man can only be held down for so long before he start to make someone pay for it. Hopefully, it’ll be the Rays and the payback will start tomorrow night.