Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The End Is Neigh

Gordon and Myers...perfect together.

There are multitudes of Phillies followers, particularly those commenting on some blogs, who are enamored of Brett Myers. There are others, like myself, who cannot abide him for his behavior on and off the field. After today's meltdown, overdue frankly as Myers normally alternates good performances with stinkers, I would be delighted to see the Phils move him in the off-season while he can still fool some of the people some of the time. He's a mediocrity through and through. Yes, I know the arguments about today's devastating loss: the Braves got a lot of cheap hits and breaks and Chris Roberson probably should have caught the game-winning hit. Nevertheless, Myers walked three batters in his two innings including one with the bases loaded and never could put the Braves away. After the game Chipper Jones shook his head and wondered aloud whether any team had ever gotten so many breaks in a win as his Braves just did. He concluded by saying the better team didn't win this game. Still, Myers contributed mightily to the loss, constantly allowing the Braves back into the game. He walked two in the eighth inning and one in the ninth. The infield single in the ninth wasn't luck. The chopper off the plate was. The walk certainly wasn't and the game-winning double off of Roberson's glove was hit well enough to drive a stake into the Phillies' hearts. Rarely if ever has a manager looked more shell-shocked than Charlie Manuel did as the winning run crossed the plate for the Braves.

As for Gordon, he was truly the victim of a series of incredibly unlucky breaks as the Braves managed three straight bloop hits off of him, but Flash gave up four hits, not three, and four runs and continued to raise serious doubts about his future.

The Phils road trip through the South pretty much fricasseed them for this season baring something miraculous. Throw in the likelihood that Cole Hamels is done for the season and there is little to cheer about on the pitching front. (Also throw in that Hamels is unhappy about the lack of a team-provided chiropractor and one has the sense things are starting to unravel a little in the clubhouse.) I feel sorry for Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and Pat Burrell in particular. They deserve better.

More thoughts the day after....

Jim Salisbury, whom I respect enormously, wrote this morning that Myers is "still learning the closer's role". Salisbury wasn't making excuses in his piece entitled "This one never should have gotten away" but even the mere suggestion that Myers is learning on the job ignores the realities that he walked three batters in his two innings of work, one with the bases loaded, and that he worked a lot of other deep counts before losing most of those battles as well. Bloop hits and balls bounced off the plate are the luck of the draw; free passes, a wild pitch, and lack of command are not the stuff closers are made of. Brett Myers is a veteran pitcher and no matter what role he plays, he knows he shouldn't be issuing free passes. (Myers also didn't help himself in the ninth with a poor throw to first base that pulled Ryan Howard off the bag, a play that might have ended the ball game with the Phils ahead by two runs, but the play would have been very close at best. Lack of command, it seems, is not just a question of Myers' throwing to home.)

Should Michael Bourn have caught that slicing fly ball that broke the Phillies' backs and hearts? Some theorize that if a fielder gets his glove on a ball he should have made the catch, a concept I find hard to support in a game of inches, but there is no getting around the poor decision he made when the ball was hit and the even poorer decision the Phillies' dugout brain trust made in positioning him shallow to put him in position to throw a runner out at the plate. Chris Wheeler noted an inning before when the Braves had the bases loaded with two outs and a few batters before in the fatal ninth that the outfield defense was not in a "prevent doubles" position. Now, Wheeler loves that phrase but in many instances he is correct. Leading by two runs the issue wasn't to be in a position to cut down a runner. The proper defense was to prevent extra base hits. Bourn should have been deeper and Jimmy Williams or whoever is in charge of those decisions should have placed him there.


PhilFan75 said...

I simply don't understand it! How many times is this ball club (or sould I say bull pen) capable of disappointing? Often! Is anyone capable of a strong inning and a close for the hard work put forward by those in the earlier innings? And I couldn't agree more that the likes of Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, and Pat Burrell deserve better. But what about Aaron Rowand, Shane Victorino, Ryan Howard and newcomer Jayson Werth - they deserve better too. When will this team get some pitching to match the energy, drive and spirit of those who have dug deep on many nights to find a way to win? These aren't one run leads here Gillick & Manuel the Phils continue to squander. And for Charlie to back Alfonseca by saying "he's got nothing left in the tank" is pure crap. Oh how I'd long to have a Bedrosian or even Mitch Williams back in their prime. Gillick - get us a closer! The die hard Phillies Fan deserves better.

David said...

Finest and most complete analysis of that debacle I've read all day.

Ned said...

That was chris Roberson with the 3 misplays. The same Chris Roberson that had difficulty fielding his position on his last call up. Most of the phaithful recall this. The ringmaster must have missed that detail thereby both weakening the defense and simultaneously reducing the teams ability to score runs. Genius!
Also, Gordon and Myers pitched on the previous night and with an 8-2 lead had no business warming up at the time much less pitching in the eighth. At the very least - BAD KHARMA.

B.S. said...

Myers certainly has closer stuff but doesn't have the makeup to be a reliable closer.

With starting pitching a clear need heading into next year, there is no doubt Myers should go back to the rotation.

With any luck Moyer will retire. I'd even be willing to pay him the same salary to be pitching coach.

A rotation of Hamels, Myers, a decent free agent, Kendrick and Eaton would not be half bad.