Nomar Garciaparra is scheduled to do tonight what he could not do two years ago and did not do during this year’s division series: start a playoff game at Dodger Stadium.
Garciaparra could barely walk during the 2006 playoffs, and James Loney replaced him at first base for Game 3 as the New York Mets completed a sweep of the Dodgers. The scenario is expected to be reversed tonight, with Garciaparra starting at first ahead of Loney.
Dodgers Manager Joe Torre said he had not ruled out starting Garciaparra at third base ahead of Casey Blake, who is batting .222 in the postseason and .118 against Philadelphia Phillies starter Jamie Moyer. However, Torre said the oft-injured Garciaparra would “have fewer problems playing first.”
Garciaparra has a .417 average against Moyer, although only three of his 36 career at-bats came within the last five years.
“I think recent stuff is important,” Torre said, “but, approach-wise, Jamie hasn’t changed much over the years.”
Moyer, 45, said he never had to adjust to diminished velocity since he never had much on his fastball to start with.
“I never threw 90 [mph], 95, and got hurt,” he said, “and had to re-learn how to pitch.”
Never 90 mph?
“No,” he said. “Two pitches added together, maybe, but not one total pitch.”
Torre said he would hold a team meeting before tonight’s game, but not just because the Dodgers trail the series two games to none.
“Every day, I say something to them,” Torre said. “I’m not sure if they hear everything. And it really doesn’t amount to a whole lot.”
Phillies Manager Charlie Manuel and outfielder Shane Victorino are not expected to miss any games, even though Manuel’s 87-year-old mother and Victorino’s 82-year-old grandmother died on Friday.
If the series extends to Game 5 on Wednesday night, Philadelphia General Manager Pat Gillick said, the team would provide Manuel with a private plane for an overnight flight to Virginia.
Manuel would attend a viewing there Thursday and a memorial service Friday morning, then return to Philadelphia in time if there is a Game 6 that night, Gillick said.
Victorino said his family in Hawaii is “hoping we can get the funeral arrangements to where I won’t miss any games. Like my dad said, ‘My grandma would probably want me to be here.’
“I appreciate everybody’s love and support, not only for me but for Charlie.”
Manny Ramirez opened a package to discover a shipment of batting gloves, in the wrong color. He held one up for Delwyn Young to see.
“Red gloves,” Ramirez said. “For what?”
Said Young: “Maybe you’re going back to Boston.”
As expected, Torre said Derek Lowe would start Game 4 for the Dodgers, on three days’ rest. That would set up Lowe to pitch a possible Game 7 on normal rest. . . . Phillies outfielder Geoff Jenkins, who played at USC, entered the visiting clubhouse after Saturday afternoon’s workout and immediately took charge of the remote control. “Let’s get the Trojan game on,” Jenkins said. . . . Today marks the 20th anniversary of the last NLCS game played at Dodger Stadium, when Orel Hershiser shut out the New York Mets in Game 7, carrying the Dodgers into the Kirk Gibson World Series.