ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.— It is really simple, Charlie Manuel was saying. You get the impression there was no extended debate, nor should there have been. In an enormous spot, he is giving the ball to Jamie Moyer, and that is that.
“I think Jamie Moyer, after all these years, I think he’s earned the right to start a game in the World Series,” Manuel said. “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.
"He's done a tremendous job for us," the manager said.
It is how Manuel has managed all year, with respect for people and with confidence in their professionalism. It is what has made the Phillies the Phillies - their enduring acceptance of a manager who has their back, and their determination to reward that kind of treatment with professionalism returned in kind.
Given that, the moment demands Moyer. And now we'll see.
The imperatives are simple enough after the Phillies lost last night to the Tampa Bay Rays, 4-2, in Game 2 of the World Series. The series is tied at one game apiece. The advantage belongs to no one on paper. But the reality is that the Phillies have to find a way to win one of the next two games, with Moyer and Joe Blanton on the mound. They need one of two and then they need to climb back aboard Cole Hamels' back in Game 5.