Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Who's Number One?

Ladies and gentlemen, the Phillies finally appear to have their No.1 guy.  

Brett Myers threw eight strong innings against the Nationals, lowering his ERA to 2.80 in the process.  The big right hander limited a good Washington lineup to just three hits and two earned runs and in the process gave most of the bullpen the night off.  Tom Gordon, who needed the work, pitched the ninth inning for his fifteenth save.

Everyone associated with the Phillies has always maintained Myers had the stuff of aces but not the temperament.  Lately, these same people attribute his success to his ability to control his emotions and put bad calls and fielding lapses behind him.  Watching Myers one always has the feeling he never seems quite as dominant as a Pedro or Clemens or Oswalt, but he is clearly meeting or exceeding the quality start criteria.  That 2.80 ERA doesn’t lie.

Now, if he could only overcome the one lingering bad habit, giving up home runs to all those Marlon Byrd types, he will have put it all together.  For their part, it would be nice if his mates provided him with more support in recognition of his new status.

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Preliminary totals are out for the NL All-Star balloting and Chase Utley currently trails Houston’s Craig Biggio by roughly 17,000 votes.  A seven-time All-Star, the 40-year old Biggio is having a fine year for the Astros, but he ain’t Chase Utley.  That isn’t parochialism speaking.  Utley is the best second baseman in the game today and other than Albert Pujols the first player I’d select to build a team.

Ryan Howard has a much tougher row to hoe to make the squad.  Currently in sixth place in the balloting, Howard trails Carlos Delgado, Lance Berkman, Derek Lee and Nomar Garciaparra.  Understandably, all of them trail Pujols by a total roughly approximating that of the earth’s entire population and can expect to do so as long as King Albert puts on a uniform.  Delgado, currently in a big time slump, still has good offensive numbers for the year and, of course, plays in New York.  Berkman is a terrific player.  Lee, a great hitter and fielder, is on the Disabled List.  It always warms the heart when fans choose guys who not only cannot play but haven’t played for weeks if not months.  Wasn’t it Tip O’Neil who said all All-Star balloting was local?  Garciaparra is also having a fantastic comeback year in Los Angeles at his new position.  First base may be the most loaded position in the league right now.  Still, Howard’s numbers put him right up there with all of them except Pujols.  Heck, Lou Gehrig wouldn’t beat out Albert.

10 Comments:

Anonymous J. Weitzel said...

Forget the homer to Byrd. It came on pitch 100+ on the hottest night of the year. It was a very good night for Myers. This afternoon, they'll need their offense to come through against Livan.

8:34 AM  
Anonymous J. Weitzel said...

I also enjoyed the bat flip from Byrd on that home run. Reminds me of the cocky 5-tool prospect that blazed through the Phillies system a couple years back.

Almost makes one forget he was traded for Endy Chavez and never worked hard enough to reach his full potential.

8:42 AM  
Blogger Rev. Smokin Steve said...

Myers is making the move. I expect him to be in the same breath as the top aces soon.

9:39 AM  
Blogger MrPhillySucks said...

Rowand>>>Byrd. Sure, he may have been able to play a corner outfield spot if he was still here but the Phils may have also not gotten Rowand if they believed in Byrd.

10:38 AM  
Anonymous J. Weitzel said...

I didn't make my point clear enough. Byrd is a dog. The fact he was traded for inning Endy is an indictment of Byrd, not the Phillies.

10:51 AM  
Blogger Tom Goodman said...

And I guess I didn't make myself clear either: that's why I was annoyed about the home run ball he threw to that "dog" in the first place.

10:57 AM  
Anonymous RickSchuBlues said...

Marlon Byrd was one of the biggest disappointments ever to wear a Phillies uniform, and that's saying something. I expect him to bounce around with four more teams in the next three seasons, spend a year in Japan, and get released by Tampa Bay in spring training in 2011. It was interesting that he homered off Myers, as those two were hailed as the future cornerstones of this franchise in 2001-02. It's at least gratifying to see that Myers is starting to emerge as a quality pitcher, after it looked (to me) for a couple of years that the Phillies had similarly over-rated him as well.

1:42 PM  
Blogger Tom Goodman said...

Traded for Endy Chavez is ignominious enough.

2:01 PM  
Blogger Deanna said...

Even out here in Seattle, people acknowledge that Utley's the best second baseman in the game, hands down. A friend of mine's been doing Win Probability Added all-star things, and as of the last one, Utley was not only the top candidate, he had a WPA score almost three times higher than the second place guy, Jeff Kent. Biggio's not even on the damn list.

It's funny, when I'm filling out a ballot at a Mariners game, my friends are in total agreement with me when I fill out almost all Phillies on the NL side and almost no Mariners on the AL side :)

The only thing that worries me about Brett Myers is that before each game I think, "Riddle me this, riddle me that: a home run off Myers will come from whose bat?"

2:53 PM  
Blogger Tom Goodman said...

No one would like to see Myers succeed more than I but I often find myself thinking I want him to be Bob Gibson or Bob Feller but I might have to settle for Bob Turley.

3:00 PM  

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