The hot topic of the moment has been Brett Myers, who was sent to AAA Lehigh Valley after a horrendous start to 2008.
The Inquirer’s Bob Ford ponders Myers has been a reliever all along, and the Phillies should recognize that enough to put him in the bullpen for good.
“What was previously speculated, that Myers hasn’t felt as comfortable starting as he did relieving, was confirmed. You can’t blame Myers, who liked the pace and the frequent work, for feeling he had been yanked around again. If it had been Myers’ call, maybe the Phillies would have gotten another starter in the off-season rather than Lidge.”
Ford dances around Myers’ mental state, but the man himself cut right into the problem yesterday talking to the Inky’s Jim Salisbury . Looks like we finally have some reasons, and they were what we figured all along:
“I wasn’t prepared to become a starter because my heart and my mind-set were still in the bullpen. That’s my fault.
“I want to be great, and honestly, I realized last year that I’d only be a good starter, I felt like I had rock-star status as a closer. I enjoyed the bullpen. I felt like they liked me in that role. But it was easier to get a closer than another starter. Lidge has done a hell of a job for us. I don’t think I could do better.”
Yes, Myers was generally peeved that Lidge was brought in to close out games. Myers got a dangerous taste of the glory, and was The Man on September 30, 2007. He had the winning Polaroid, that glove in the air, those arms outstretched.
He then says he has to learn “to start again”:
“We’re in a playoff race, and I have to be there to help my team. This isn’t a question of what I want to do. It’s what I have to do. … I need to go work on it, take it seriously, and get back in a starter’s mode. People call me stubborn and hard-headed, but I have no friggin’ clue how I’m supposed to start. That’s what I need to work on these next couple weeks: learning to start again.”
It’s great that he recognizes his problem, but really, this is all troubling. We have to face it: Brett Myers is a relief pitcher. His mind, stuff and acumen are all appropriate for a reliever, not a guy who needs to be consistent and focused for six-to-eight innings.
David Murphy goes into more depth concerning what Myers has lost mechanically.
But for me it starts with Myers’ mental state. He doesn’t even know how he’s going to become a good pitcher again. So maybe the best idea is to put him in the back of the ironPigs bullpen and just hurl away.