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Phils to rely on Myers' arm in Game 2

Phils to rely on Myers' arm in Game 2

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Phillies have Brett Myers starting Game 2 of the best-of-seven World Series on Thursday night at Tropicana Field against "Big Game" James Shields. But they'll have to rely on Myers' right arm rather than his potent bat.

"It's depressing," Myers said with a laugh on Wednesday. "That's what those other guys get paid for. I get paid to pitch. I'm going to just try to step back and enjoy this as much as possible."

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Because the designated hitter is utilized in the American League city during the World Series, the loss of Myers' hitting prowess this postseason is no joke.

He's 2-0 with a 5.25 ERA after a Game 2 win in the National League Division Series over the Brewers and a Game 2 win in the NL Championship Series over the Dodgers.

Both games were played at Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Park and came after Cole Hamels was victorious in Game 1.

Hamels defeated the Rays, 3-2, in Game 1 of the World Series on Wednesday night. If Myers can follow him with a win again, they'll be the only one-two punch to win the first two games of each of the playoff rounds since the advent of the three-tier system in 1995.

Myers will have to do it solely from the mound this time. He was 4-for-7 with three RBIs and a key walk in his two wins. The four knocks equaled his entire regular-season output of four hits in 58 at-bats.

His walk in the NLDS against Milwaukee's C.C. Sabathia evidently started the run of hot hitting. It took nine pitches and every time Myers fouled one off on two strikes against the Brewers left-hander the crowd of 46,208 in the Bank grew louder and more vociferous.

Two batters later, Shane Victorino hit a grand slam that put the game and Sabathia in the vault, 5-2.

"They've been great for us, when we've been going through our bad moments," Myers said about the sold-out Philly crowds. "They're very boisterous with how they feel about how we play. We all know if we're playing bad and stuff, but they want us to know that they realize it, too. I think that's good for us, sometimes it could be bad. If you're playing well, they're definitely behind you."

Myers trumped that 1-for-4 performance against the Brewers with a 3-for-3, three-RBI afternoon in an 8-5 victory over the Dodgers.

In that one, he rolled his right ankle during the second inning, running from first to third on Jimmy Rollins' single and center fielder Matt Kemp's error.

GAME 2: JUST THE FACTS
Tropicana Field, Thursday, 8 p.m. ET
Phillies starter: RHP Brett Myers
2008: 10-13, 4.55 ERA
2008 on the road: 3-8, 6.21 ERA
2008 vs. Rays: Did not face
Career vs. Rays: Has not faced
2008 postseason: 2-0, 5.25 ERA
Career postseason: 2-0, 4.72 ERA
Rays starter: RHP James Shields
2008: 14-8, 3.56 ERA
2008 at home: 9-2, 2.59 ERA
2008 vs. Phillies: Did not face
Career vs. Phillies: 1-0, 4.50 ERA (one start)
2008 postseason: 1-2, 3.72 ERA
Career postseason: 1-2, 3.72 ERA
Phillies lead series, 1-0: Ten of the last 11 teams to win Game 1 of the World Series have gone on to win the title. In all, the team that wins Game 1 has gone on to win 63 of the 103 World Series.
Game 1: Phillies 3, Rays 2
Did you know? The last time the Phillies won the first game of the World Series was in 1983. The Phillies beat the Orioles in that World Series opener but went on to lose the series. The Phillies also won the first game in the 1980 World Series and went on to win their only Fall Classic to date.
Myers and Phils manager Charlie Manuel said the ankle is just fine, although because of the rules, the manager can't use his bat.

"I heard somebody say the other day we should let Myers DH," Manuel said with a chuckle on Wednesday. "Actually, Myers has been hitting. He had some good at-bats against C.C. Sabathia, and then he had a big game against the Dodgers, and I guess he's been hot. But I haven't got -- what do you call it -- I don't guess I've got that much nerve yet."

That Myers is in this spot at all is a testament to his own fortitude.

He was the team's closer last season, but was supplanted in that role during the offseason when Brad Lidge was obtained in a trade with the Astros.

Myers had been a starter for the first five seasons of his career and was asked to return to that slot. But he couldn't get his mind around it.

A three-week trip to the Minors in July helped him get his head straight.

"I mean, I knew that I needed to go down and take responsibility for how I was pitching," said Myers, who was 3-9 when he went down and was 7-4 after his return. "I needed to get it right. In order for me to be successful I needed to figure things out and I did. And it was good for me and I think for the team. I was able to come back with some confidence and be able to pitch in bigger games and kind of got the feel back for starting pitching again."

Asked what he had to go through mentally to attain that level of awareness, Myers said:

"I had to get away from trying to strike everybody out. As a closer, strikeouts look good. You can let it go for one inning. I tried to do that early in the year. I was just trying to strike everybody out and I was falling behind in counts. As a starter, you have to take a step back and take a little off and try to make a good pitch to get ground balls. One-pitch outs are great as a starter. It just gets you deeper in the game."

Manuel will take it on Thursday if Myers can get deep into the game. After all, he's not going to be able to take advantage of his bat.

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.

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{"content":["world_series" ] }
{"content":["world_series" ] }