Thursday, June 15, 2006

Any Nominations?

Myers (L, 4-3) 2.2(IP) 9(H) 6(R) 5(ER) 1(BB) 4(SO) 1(HR) 3.86(ERA)

And with that, ladies and gentleman, let’s open the floor to nominations for the next closer for this ball club.

Yesterday afternoon, prior to the game, I wrote but did not post the following:

So, it comes down to this…

The Phillies are once again counting on Brett Myers to stop their latest free fall from becoming fatal. Myers, who has become the staff ace by default. Oh, sure, there are many who will point to his numbers and say he really is a top-of-the rotation pitcher, but I am not buying that. Myers may have the best stuff on this staff, but it stops around the neck. Nothing in his history suggests he has matured sufficiently to be considered among the elite starters in the league. Every time he takes the ball, the outcome is dependent on how his mates play behind him. A misjudged fly ball or errant throw is usually sufficient to throw him off his game. Myers is going to have to string together more than a few “quality” starts to make a believer out of me.

At about the same time I sent the following email to Jason Weitzel:

I really don't have a lot of faith in Myers. It all depends on how the guys behind him play. His last outing convinced me he is incapable of the maturity a lot of people thought he might finally have developed. Instead, he is always going to be a hot-head who cannot get over a lousy play behind him. If the guys play like[Tuesday] night, forget it. If they catch the ball, he has a chance to pitch well. He isn't an ace if by that we mean a guy with the character let alone ability of a guy like Maddux or Mussina or a half dozen other guys.

I decided not to post what I’d written for the simplest of reasons: how much gloom and doom can a man take? Against my better judgment I opted for a little bit of humor instead and posted the link below in How’s My Driving?.

Of course, by 7:15PM last night I wasn’t feeling humorous at all, and by 8PM, I was feeling positively steamed.

So, do we have any nominations from the floor? Corey Lidle? [pause here for effect] Corey Lidle??!!

* * * * * * * * *

I don’t want to hear or read anything more about how good a defensive third baseman David Bell is. Skip the range factors and other measurements and consider this instead: the play that gives Bell the most trouble is invariably the ball hit right at him. As for the ones he does manage to hold on to, it’s too bad there is no stat for number of balls caught in bread basket or chest; if there were, he’d be leading both leagues all time.

Ryan Howard needs a good talking to. As potent as his bat is, he is killing this team in the field and on the base paths. The fielding part is hardest to understand. Last year he played a very good first base and certainly gave no indication of the troubles to come. A month or so ago I wrote a comment on one of the blogs suggesting that if any player continued to make the kind of mistakes that were becoming commonplace on this team, e.g. poor base-running or lazy fielding, he should be pulled from the game on the spot. A rebuttal suggested that sort of public humiliation was counterproductive and I agreed. I no longer think it is such a bad idea. Nothing else seems to be getting through to these guys. Six errors in two nights. And consider this: Abreu’s botch of the Reyes’ “triple” was officially called a hit and Howard’s running himself into a third out doesn’t show up as an error at all in the box score. Whoever scored that Abreu “effort” a hit was obviously one of the voters for last year’s Gold Glove awards.


Oisín/Wizlah said...

Ryan Howards fielding is ryan howards sophomore slump. As for Brett - all this season his game has been groundballs and strikeouts. I note that he still managed 4 last night in less than 2 innings. We're meant to like this because this he pitches a lot CBP.

Like you've noted before, he is more prone to the homerun than is good for him (1.16 per game right now, dumping him in the lower half of starting pitchers - league average is 1.08), but his ERA and FIP ERA state exactly what you said - he's as good as the guys behind himn

I'm still keeping faith in the guy though. two more starts like this, two more freakouts on the mound, then I'll get worried. This is a wobble. In part I think its because cholly doesn't help keep these guys loose any more.

Tom Goodman said...

The key thing with Myers is that he cannot block out the bad plays and calls and stick with a plan. Even that may be assuming too much; there is liitle evidence to suggest he has much of a plan. I still believe he is more of a thrower than a pitcher. Do you think Greg Maddux had more "stuff" than Myers? He knew how to pitch.

One of the keys to Myers is to note how often he gives up the soft home run or, worse, a hit to his opposite number. Those failures point to a lack of concentration and, frankly, intelligence.

He isn't an ace. He's been around long enough to establish that credential and he has done nothing to earn it. The best that can be said for Myers is that he's the "ace" of this team, something akin to being appointed an admiral in the Swiss navy.

Oisín/Wizlah said...

Your point about composure is precisely why I'm not giving up on the guy's 'ace' status just yet. Last year he was incosistent over the season - this year he seemed to be settling back in and sticking with his plan after giving up bad hits - which is exactly what has surprised me about the last two starts.

You could say that he's just reverting to type, but I firmly believe that compusure like that is something which a player can develop and all the starts prior to this suggested just that - that myer's composure was developing.

Its funny you mention maddux - I wondered about three weeks ago whether myers was developing into that kind of pitcher. Looking at his k/bbs vs maddux's, I'd have to say no - myers doesn't have or use the strike zone as well as maddux.

Oisín/Wizlah said...

(I should clarify that in the last two starts, I think myers has been anything but composed).

Nat said...

My estimation of Ryan Howard is that he is an intelligent guy who has shown good ability to learn, adjust and adapt as he has come up the ranks and faced new challenges. Therefore, I attribute his fielding problems to poor coaching, or a total lack thereof.

Do the Phillies have anybody on the staff who is qualified to help him at the position? I can't think of anyone, although I'm not sure what qualifies any of the current staff to be doing what they're doing, other than the fact that, well, they're the guys who are there. The coaching staff just looks to me like a bunch of guys who have managed to hang around the organization for a number of years.

RickSchuBlues said...

Boy, are you ever right about David Bell. He can make some nice plays, but that doesn't make him a good third baseman. He is just about the least enjoyable player I've ever watched. Kind of like Dave Hollins, he brings just a little too much intensity to the table. I'll bet he didn't even smile at his wedding. He's wrapped tighter than spandex on Charlie Manuel (if you'll pardon the image).

Myers is such a putz. Really, I can't stand the guy. I'm willing to tolerate him when he's winning, but he just is so dislikeable. He's the kind of guy who makes his own problems and then wants to glare at the fielders and umpires. That's real class for you.

Tom Goodman said...


"I'll bet he didn't even smile at his wedding."

You made me laugh out loud with thet one. I needed that badly.

"He's the kind of guy who makes his own problems and then wants to glare at the fielders and umpires. That's real class for."

Absolutely perfect. Could not have said it better.

Rev. Smokin Steve said...

I think I just lost my faith.