Closing the Closer Role

They did it, they finally did it.  Brett Myers is now officially the new Phillies closer as he recorded his first major league save last night against the Giants.  The ace of the rotation at the beginning of the year is now taking over bullpen duties casting aside the likes of Ryan Madson, Tom Gordon and Geoff Geary as he shows he can fulfill all roles.  With Tom Gordon now headed to the 15-day DL after receiving an anti-inflammatory injection (another vague Phillies comment on Gordon’s health), Brett Myers will have a chance to take over the closing job for good.  Myers has said all along he doesn’t want to be jerked around between the ‘pen and the rotation like Madson last year, so it’s very likely he will be the closer for the rest of the season.  When/if Tom Gordon returns he would move into the setup role, as he did with the Yankees. 

This is a good move in my opinion because the Phillies can ill afford to blow any more late-inning leads.  Jayson Stark mentioned earlier this week that only 6 of the last 144 playoff teams found themselves more than 4½ games out of a playoff spot after April.  If the Phils expect to overcome those odds, Charlie Manuel will have to figure out how best to use Myers.  I’m interested to see when Myers’ first 2-inning save opportunity comes.  If it’s soon, Charlie might be misplaying his hand by overusing his best reliever – as he tends to do.  We’ll see, though Myers says he can handle the new pitching schedule.  "It’s easier to bounce back from throwing nine pitches than throwing 100.  But getting cranked up every night isn’t a problem for me, because I have trouble sitting down anyway."

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