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Phillies confirm Fall Classic rotation

Phillies confirm Fall Classic rotation

ST. PETERSBURG -- Sticking with what got them here, the Phillies have opted for the same four-man rotation, starting with ace Cole Hamels for Game 1 of the World Series on Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Following Hamels will be Brett Myers, Jamie Moyer and Joe Blanton.

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"Why change?" pitching coach Rich Dubee said. "We feel very comfortable with all four. All four are big reasons we're here. We've been successful the way it's been. They've won two series."

In keeping things the same, the Phillies resisted the temptation to start Myers at home, where he has a 3.01 ERA vs. a 6.21 on the road. Instead, the Phillies will throw the right-hander in Game 2 at Tropicana Field against James Shields. Scott Kazmir gets the Game 1 turn against Hamels.

"We wanted to keep Cole number one," Dubee said. "We didn't want Brett sitting for any extra time -- and I know he's pitched awfully good at home, but I think he's capable of pitching awfully well here."

Moyer and Joe Blanton will face Matt Garza and Andy Sonnanstine, respectively, for the first two games a Citizens Bank Park on Saturday and Sunday. Should more games be necessary, Hamels, Myers and Moyer would take Games 5, 6 and 7.

There is little doubt about the effectiveness of Hamels, who dominated in two postseason starts, or Myers, who has been feeding off the crowd's emotion, but concern followed Moyer after he endured his worst outing of the season in the National League Championship Series, allowing six runs over 1 1/3 innings in Game 3.

That outing came eight days after he lasted four innings in a Division Series loss to the Brewers. Moyer started both of the Phillies' postseason losses.

"Moyer won a lot of games for us this year," manager Charlie Manuel said of the 16-game winner. "He's one reason why we're where we're at."

"The better pitches I made -- which weren't many -- they hit," Moyer said of his outing against the Dodgers. "And the poor pitches I made, they hit. It's just like the regular season. You have days where you have a good day, and you have days where you have a bad day. I just picked the wrong time to do it."

Dubee theorized that the lure of getting to the World Series took an extra toll on Moyer, a 22-year veteran who may not have many more chances. Now that he's here, he can relax.

"Getting to the World Series meant more than people realize with Jamie Moyer," Dubee said. "He's been in this game for 20-something years, and to get that close, I think he put extra pressure on himself. When you get to that age, you only have so many more chances. I think he wore it a little bit. He wasn't himself. Now that we're here, I think he'll relax and be Jamie Moyer again."

Three times, a charm
Since the start of League Division Series play in 1995, three pitchers have won three Game 1's (LDS, LCS, WS) in the same postseason
Pitcher Year Team
John Smoltz 1996 Braves
David Wells 1998 Yankees
Josh Beckett2007 Red Sox
Moyer didn't want to hear that.

"It's not like you're, 'Oh, I'm here ... now I can relax,'" he said. "I think the feeling in the room is we're here as a team, now let's make an impact. Let's do it as a team. Everybody in this room wants to be successful. Will everybody? If guys are, that's great. If guys aren't, hopefully the other guys can pick them up and we can do this as a team."

Hamels will have the first crack at a young Rays team playing on pure energy. The AL East champions went 57-25 at home this season, but dropped two games to the Red Sox in the American League Championship Series. There will plenty of cowbells and plenty of energy.

Hamels would love to set the tone.

"Any time you come into somebody else's home, it's going to be louder," Hamels said. "They've done very well here. You have to be prepared to deal with the crowd, but also with the team. You have to be very narrow-minded. Game 1 sets the table."

Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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