Like fine wine that gets better with age., Jamie Moyer, age 45, takes the mound for the Phillies in Game 3 of the National League Division Series today at Miller Park.
Brewers hitters must be patient against Mr. Moyer. After playing wit Jamie, I can say two things about him that were impressive: his preparation and attention to detail were off the charts.
Lets take, for instance, Mike Cameron. In his recent start against the Brewers in Philly, Jamie threw four straight changeups to strike Cameron out his first at bat.
Most pitchers, catchers and pitching coaches would think he would mix it up because big-league hitters make adjustments. Jamie, who can be stubborn as a mule, made Cameron show him he would adjust to the changeup first before he went to something else. This at-bat was how I remembered playing behind him in Seattle. He will not give in but isn't afraid to make pitches on the plate. He also tests umpires early in the game, too. He is a guy that relies on the corners of the plate. When umpires keep him on the plate, he can be vulnerable. But if the umpire is giving him three or four inches on either side, he will try to exploit the strike zone.
In Philly, he pitched inside a bit more than I remember but I feel it is because of the way the ball carries to right-center at Citizens Bank Park. Today, He will pitch down and away with a few "show-me" cutters/fastballs inside.
I had more success against these types of pitchers when I adjusted to his style. I would move up in the batters box and stand closer to the plate. I would dare him to throw the ball more middle-in for strikes. I'd try to take away his best pitch and wait to see how he adjusts.
He is crafty though and will notice the Brewers hitters if they move up or closer to the plate. But I like the idea, because he has prepared a certain way for every hitter and what they look like on tape. It is worth a shot. Hitters should step out on him, too. He likes to dictate the pace of the game and be in charge. Sometimes, he tries to lull you to sleep with long look-ins for the sign or three consecutive throws to first. Step out of the box and play the mind game with him.
If people don't realize, Dave Bush is a frontline pitcher. His stats in his last 18 games and his WHIP (walks and hits per inning pitched) the last three years indicate that he is in the upper tier. I loved playing behind this guy. He isn't just a pitcher throwing to Kendall. He is off the charts smart, has a tremendous work ethic and was always on the bench even when he wasn't pitching.
Bush needs to continue to use all his pitches and throw quality strike one down in the zone. Look for him to elevate the ball with two strikes on Utley and Howard. The guys that scare me against Bush are Victorino and Rollins. They both stand right on top of the plate and dare you to throw the ball inside. Look for Dave to throw cutters in on their hands and low two-seamers away.
Moyer can be slow to the plate and is 45. I would think the Crew would try to put the game in motion a bit with some hit and runs and some bunts. Feliz is an outstanding third baseman, but there will be chances. You might see Braun drop a bunt leading off an inning and Hart, too. The way the Brewers won some of their games on the last homestand was by moving runners. They have seven hits in two games, so you may see some of these things.
Last but certainly not least. I think when introductions come the players will see what they were able to accomplish this season and the effect that it had on the whole community. This energy will hopefully spring them back to life. All it takes is a bit of momentum and this series will be 2-2 in a heartbeat. Have faith, as there is a ton of energy and support for the Crew tonight. Hopefully, they give everyone a severe, sleep-deprived workday on Monday.