Against the Rockies Saturday, Brett Myers threw three pitches that were slammed back out of Coors Field. Those three home runs were three of four hits the Rockies collected against Myers. And it comes after the Braves socked Myers for three homers. So wait, four hits in Coors Field? Myers surely is a good pitcher, right?
But seeing as Myers already has trended as a home run pitcher in 2009, let’s dive into those six shots to see just why Myers’ numbers aren’t showing that he’s a good pitcher.
Home Run 1 – Brian McCann: On a 2-0 count, Myers throws a changeup high and center. It proceeds a changeup on 1-0 that fell outside for a ball. McCann crushes it.
Opinion: He should’ve never gone back to the changeup on 2-0. (You almost never throw two straight changeups.) McCann expected it, and it’s Myers’ worst pitch.
Home Run 2 – Jeff Francoeur: On the first pitch, Myers throws a fastball middle-in at 90 miles per hour. Francoeur is a notorious first-pitch swinger. He crushes it.
Opinion: Myers should never throw a hot-zone fastball to Francoeur to start an at bat. That’s the one pitch you don’t throw him.
Home Run 3 – Jordan Schafer: On a 3-1 count, Myers throws a fastball down the middle of the plate at 90 miles per hour. Schafer crushes it.
Opinion: Hitters’ count. A rookie more than anyone is looking for a turnpike fastball. Myers gave it to him. Should’ve never happened.
Home Run 4 – Troy Tulowitzki: On a 1-0 count, Myers throws a fastball middle-in after throwing a fastball to start the count. Tulowitzki drills it.
Opinion: Two straight fastballs in the zone to start an at bat — not good. It came after a double that Brad Hawpe hit from a good curveball. It’s likely Myers was rattled and wanted to prove a strikeout to Tulowitzki.
Home Run 5 – Garrett Atkins: On a 3-1 count, Myers throws a curveball that lands on the outside corner of the plate and just below the belt. Atkins gets a hold of it and lasers it out to left field.
Opinion: A pure hitters’ home run, Atkins just used his power to take that one out. Good pitch in that situation. Can’t fault Myers.
Home Run 6 – Clint Barmes: On a 1-0 count, Myers throws a fastball high and inside. Barmes nails it.
Opinion: Not great to open the at bat with two fastballs, but it’s not terrible against Barmes. Still, this landed in Barmes’ hot zone. He loves it on the higher part of the zone. Not the best decision.
Assessment: Four of the six home runs Myers has surrendered were purely because of poor decision making. Some due to scouting (throwing Francoeur a first-pitch fastball; possibly not recognizing Barmes’ hot zone), more due to plain stupid decisions (a 3-1 fastball to a rookie; firing two straight fastballs to Tulowitzki; throwing two straight changeups to a professional power hitter). One question surrounding Myers is if his head will affect his play, and if it does, just how badly he might perform. After two games there’s a pattern: Myers will make a few bad decisions, and when he does — since he’s a fastball pitcher with a below-average changeup — he’ll get rocked by the longball.
It’s not surprising that besides the home runs, Myers pitched exceptionally well Saturday night. Most of the time his curveball was hitting, and he allowed his fastball to breathe around the zone, setting up the plus-plus breaking pitch. But the mistakes were sickly predictable — most junior college players could guess and hit off those mistakes.
For Myers to limit his mistakes and look dominant (there’s a fine line between looking dominant and looking shattered), he needs to refocus and think about each situation. Hawpe hits a good pitch for a double? Okay, then be careful with Tulowitzki. Start him with a curve to set up the fastball. Myers will allow some home runs since his two dominant pitches are home run pitches, but if he concentrates a bit more on the situations, he can be a very strong pitcher, one capable of masterful performances. So far, however, the head isn’t quite there.