Sunday, April 27, 2008

Myers & Howard: Imperfect Together

Brett Myers a number one or two starter? Only on a staff that includes Adam Eaton. He sure as hell isn't out-pitching Hamels, Moyer or Kendrick these days.

Myers produced one of his typical desultory Sunday afternoon performances yesterday, highlighted by walking his opposite number before surrendering the second of two home runs on the day to Nate McLouth. We can always count on Myers to follow a few Phillies' victories with the sort of half-baked effort we saw in Pittsburgh against a lineup that included more guys hitting below the Mendoza line than that of the injury-depleted Phils themselves. Does this guy even possess a fast ball any longer? It seems to just meander up to the plate. Rich Dubee thinks he should soft toss more to strengthen his arm. Myers demurs, of course. From where I'm sitting it looks like Myers is putting on weight, which means he simply may be having trouble getting his arm around his belly. The tell-tale sign is the more baggy uniform.

Given the lack of command of his curve and splitter and the absence of a fastball with any velocity or movement, Myers is just another run-of-the-mill starter in a league full of them. Don't let those five strikeouts in innings two and three fool you; the Pirates were helping him out as much as anything else during that stretch. The Phillies have long boasted of Myers' stuff, but right even guys hitting below .200 are routinely teeing off on him. Where is Dallas Green when we need another of his famous "he's killing us" lines?

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Meanwhile, Ryan Howard's partial reprieve from playing every day ended and he doesn't look like the 2/3 to 3/4 days off did him any good. Frankly, thinking about his problems isn't going to help. He's pulling off the ball and has virtually no sense of the strike zone any longer. He's either going to have to play through it or resign himself to being the mediocre hitter, strikeout king and occasional slugger he's been all season. A year ago I would have said he has the makeup to work through these difficulties, but now I see a guy who whines, groans and shouts expletives after every strikeout. What a mess!


Anonymous said...

I totally agree. Myers is doing what he has always done. One good performance followed by 2 or 3 subpar games. Just makes me laugh at how they keep believing in him over and over again. And to make him start off the season was a joke. He was a much better closer than a starter and in reality is no better than the rest of the starters other than Hamels.
Howard really looks bad right now just as he did last year at this time. And quite honestly if he hadn't gotten hurt for a few weeks last year he might not have had the year he had. He needs to sit for a week and not touch a bat!!

Anonymous said...

It's only the length of the season and the knowledge that players who look seemingly lost one month can right the ship and carry the team in the next month, which prevents me from completely tearing into Howard and Myers. Pat Burrell in the first half of last year, as compared to the second half up to the present, for instance. Things aren't always as they seem. Which is a nice bromide to consider when things seem as horrendous as they do!

For all that strained perspective, however, I can't deny that I'm extremely short on belief in either of them.