Thursday, April 30, 2009

Out Of Control

If anyone is still waiting for Brett Myers to fulfill his early promise here's a bit of advice: don't hold your breath.

Myers took the mound last night against the Nationals and labored for six innings. Optimists will note he didn't surrender a home run for the first time this year though he came close at least once. Pessimists will note that he threw a lot of pitches, too many of them balls or over the heart of the plate. Watching Myers pitch isn't particularly pleasant. He tugs constantly at the front of his uniform, appearing to readjust the position of the heavy gold necklace he wears. After each pitch he moves to the front of the mound to receive the catcher's throw, making sure he is on the grass in front of the mound as he goes to his mouth. Lots of nervous energy. Lots of pacing. If it can be said he works quickly, and he does more or less, the speed often comes at the expense of a plan. Myers just throws. Sure, he mixes his pitches, fastballs, curves mostly, but he seems to be just this side of complete chaos.

He doesn't seem to fool many batters, the majority of whom get in pretty good hacks against him. He doesn't establish a pitch so much as abandon one that isn't working. Compare him to last night's opponent, Scott Olsen, who went to his slider whenever he needed an out pitch. Oh, sure, Olsen entered the game 0-3 with an ERA north of seven runs, but he pitches for the Nationals not the Phillies. Apart from a first inning mistake to Shane Victorino, Olsen was in control. Myers, on the other hand, seems constantly out of control. The career numbers don't lie.

[Postscript: The Olsen comparison is a good one. He, too, is a fiery sort of guy who wears his emotions on his sleeve. That said, he seems to pitch with control, something Myers has never done consistently.]

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