The World Series moves back under gloomy Philadelphia skies, making conditions unfavorable for baseball, and for predicting an outcome.
Preview: The biggest start in Jamie Moyer's life and first ever in a World Series follows two of the worst statistical outings he's had all season, a pair of short losses to the Brewers and Dodgers (his loss to the Dodgers was the shortest of the season, his NLCS loss matched his third shortest.) If it's any consolation, Moyer wasn't off his game quite as much as it looks on paper. Against L.A., the Dodgers came out aggressively in a Game 3 must win at home and belted a couple of first-pitch strikes. The critical mistake came against Blake Dewitt with the bases loaded, two outs, the count full and the pitcher up next. Against Milwaukee, the Brewers, with their backs to the wall, changed their approached and demonstrated patience, which they didn't have the rest of the series. Moyer lasted four innings, giving up four hits, two runs and three walks in a game where neither team could figure out Brian Runge's strike zone.
Under normal circumstances, I'd like the Phils coming home for this Game 3 very much, with the series even and the crowd amped up for the first home World Series game in 15 years. The Phillies, if you think about it, have been away from home forever. However, I'm worried about an early Tampa lead that could take the crowd right out of it on a brutal night to be sitting in the seats. Rays starter Matt Garza seems to be the kind of hard-throwing right-hander the Phillies might be able to hit, but the raw conditions could limit them.
Keys for the Phils: Jimmy Rollins needs to get on base and create something. It might not be a bad idea moving Shane Victorino back into the No. 2 hole in case Rollins can't do it. Defensively, they must play better. Moyer needs to hit his spots, and as usual, he needs the home plate umpire to be in his corner.