You can be sure the lessons aren't lost on the younger members of this team every time the ageless one goes to the mound, which is to say, on all 24 members of the regular roster not to mention the hordes of September call-ups.
Asked to pitch on 3 days rest, Jamie Moyer, aka 45-year old Jamie Moyer, gave the Phils the best innings of his life, 5.2 in all, as the Phils took the opener of a four-game set with the Brewers, 6-3. Moyer didn't appear to have his best stuff, but he had sufficient guile to keep the free-swinging Brewers off balance. He did surrender two long home runs, but he also had enough to send the guys in blue back to the bench muttering to themselves about how they couldn't believe they couldn't crush this old man's junk every time they walked to the plate.
Watching Moyer pitch is always an education and last night's lesson added a new wrinkle [pun intended] to this observer's lasting impression of the old pro. Watch when a ball is hit foul. Moyer dashes off the mound either in pursuit or to give guidance to a teammate in pursuit, even when the ball ends up out of play. Watch him on a base hit to any outfield spot. There he is running to cover or backup the base where he expects the relay to come. He doesn't just go out there, throw the ball and stand back and admire his handiwork. He is busting his tail all the time, often with more energy than some twenty or thirty- somethings playing behind him.
The other story line last night was Ryan Howard, who has chosen the most opportune time this season to get hot. Howard stroked a majestic home run to dead center field in the opening frame to give Moyer and the Phils a 2-0 lead they never surrendered. Howard has been hot as a firecracker in the month of September and it should be noted that in addition to his six home runs and 15 rbi's this month, he hasn't been striking out. That not only means he is more comfortable at the plate; it should put to rest the notion that strikeouts in whatever quantity, are not important in the long run. Putting the ball in play still matters. Just ask Moyer and Howard.