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10/24/08 4:27 PM ET

At 45, Moyer ready for Series debut

In 22nd season, Phils lefty to start on game's biggest stage

PHILADELPHIA -- The start that the seemingly ageless Jamie Moyer is getting in Game 3 of the World Series on Saturday night for the Phillies against the Rays at Citizens Bank Park is well-earned and not based on sentimental value, his manager said.

"I think Jamie Moyer, after all these years, I think he's earned the right to start a game in the World Series," Charlie Manuel said about the decision. "I think he's one of the big reasons why we're here today. He won 16 games this year, and at one time, this guy was our most consistent pitcher, whether you believe it or not.

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"He did a tremendous job for us."

Moyer, at 45, is in the World Series for the first time in his 22-year career, and he'll be facing 24-year-old Rays right-hander Matt Garza with the best-of-seven series tied at a game apiece.

Moyer is the oldest player to be making his World Series debut, topping Dazzy Vance, who, at 43, appeared for the Cardinals in the 1934 World Series as a reliever in Game 4 against the Tigers, the Elias Sports Bureau reported.

He's the second-oldest pitcher to get a World Series start behind 46-year-old Jack Quinn, who started Game 4 of the 1929 Fall Classic for the Philadelphia A's against the Cubs, pitched five innings and didn't earn the decision in a 10-5 A's win. Quinn made his World Series debut at 37 in 1921 for the Yankees against the Giants.

"You know, the whole thing is really emotional," Moyer said. "It's a dream, and starting to understand the reality of it all, I'm kind of waking up with one eye open and one eye closed. And I just feel it's really cool.

"I'm excited to be a part of this organization. I haven't been here since the inception of this ballpark [in 2004], but to me, it's still a new ballpark. There's a lot of excitement in this ballpark, and it's really special to be a part of that. And on top of it, to get the start for Game 3 is something that I've been dreaming about for my whole life."

Notwithstanding all that, though, Moyer has slumped during this postseason, losing to the Brewers in the National League Division Series and the Dodgers in the NL Championship Series.

He's allowed eight earned runs and 10 hits in 5 1/3 innings.

The two losses, coming in Game 3 of both the NLDS and NLCS, were the Phillies' only losses of the first two rounds. Moyer worked four innings of the first one and couldn't make it out of the second inning of the other one.

Matt Garza
Jamie Moyer
2008 regular season
Overall11-9, 3.70 ERA
59 BB, 128 K
16-7, 3.71 ERA
62 BB, 123 K
Key stat.245 opponent batting avg.
(9th in AL)
Allowed 20 HR
(fewest since 2003)
20083 GS, 2-1, 3.322 GS, 0-2, 13.50
Career3 GS, 2-1, 3.327 GS, 3-3, 4.11
At Citizens Bank Park
2008No record16 GS, 6-4, 4.61
CareerNo record34 GS, 16-8, 4.60
Against this opponent
2008No recordNo record
CareerNo record15 GS, 8-4, 2.85
Loves to faceMatt Stairs, 1-for-10Rocco Baldelli, 1-for-10
Hates to faceN/ACarlos Pena, 10-for-20, 5 XBH, .950 SLG
Why he'll win3.38 ERA since All-Star break (incl. playoffs)7 HR in last 101 1/3 IP (incl. playoffs)
Pitcher beware4.53 ERA, 14 HR in 91 1/3 IP on roadOpponents hit .294/.349/.447 at CBP
Bottom lineRocky on roadUnhappy at home
The Dodgers quickly took it to Moyer, scoring five runs off the left-hander during the first inning of what would ultimately be a 7-2 loss.

"They're behind me. I have no idea [what happened]. I'm moving forward," Moyer said about the postseason starts, the last of which came 12 days ago in Los Angeles. "If I'm going to sit and dwell on it, the chances of having another bad outing are great.

"I really felt that after the Milwaukee game, I didn't dwell on things. There was a lot of excitement. We won that series. You go back to work. After the Dodgers series, we won that series as well. Yeah, I feel like there's a little emptiness because I didn't contribute to the best of my ability, but that's part of the game."

But Manuel is choosing to look past all that.

On a Saturday night when there's a 30 percent chance of thundershowers after a possible day of rain, according to weather.com, and the game-time temperature is forecast to be in the mid-50s, Manuel hopes that Moyer will be able to use all his experience and guile to shut down the potent Rays.

After all, Moyer's fastball clocks at about 85 mph, and when he's on, his changeup, curve and cutter dip low in the strike zone.

That's how he went 16-7 with a 3.71 ERA, winning nine of his last 10 regular-season decisions after July 5.

"He has a tremendous feel for pitching," Manuel said. "And I think he has more patience than the hitter. When he's good, he controls the game. He can speed the game up, he can slow it down and he has a knack or feel for doing that. And I also like when he's putting the ball where he wants to. It's not like Jamie doesn't rely on velocity and throwing the ball by somebody, he relies on putting the ball where he wants it to go.

"When he's doing that, that's when he's real good. And at times, if his command is not there, he has a good chance of getting in trouble."

Moyer will turn 46 on Nov. 18. And on Saturday night, he'll be at the top of his profession.

The question is, how much longer does he want to do it?

"Right now, I'm looking at the World Series," Moyer said. "This is the biggest start of my life, which I'm really excited about. But down the road, I'd love to play. I'd love to continue to play. I felt like I had my health this season and was able to make all my starts.

"I love the challenge. I enjoy the challenge. I enjoy walking through that [clubhouse] door and seeing my teammates and working hard as a team to hopefully beat the team across the field. I haven't lost that desire. That's what really pushes me. That and being in the situation we're in right now: being in the World Series.

"It's been a long wait. I'm trying to enjoy this. I'm trying to take it all in, trying to realize where I am. It's a special time."

Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.