In baseball, one of the unspoken rules is “accept being pulled from the game.”
Brett Myers didn’t quite “accept” it Saturday night. He pitched very well, but left after 7.2 innings, as Charlie Manuel seemingly wanted to give his league-best bullpen the ball to finish a must-win game against the lowly Pirates.
Myers went crazy on Manuel, and the two had to be somewhat restrained afterwards.
So who was right? What’s the solution? Is there a problem?
Myers wanted to prove himself worthy of being a top starter. He was horrible until a minor league demotion, then came back up and has pitched much better. Comfort level in Myers is still not high, but it definitely isn’t low. Going an extra 0.1 innings, or 1.1 innings, against the Pirates won’t generally bring the level up to high levels. Bottom line: Myers didn’t need to prove himself by staying out there against Pittsburgh.
Manuel, meanwhile, said this about pulling him:
“I’ll tell you something: his confidence got back. That’s why I took him out of the game. I wasn’t going to let him lose the game. He was leaving on a high note, and there’s four left-handed hitters standing there. I wasn’t going to give him a chance to get hit. He already pitched a good game and did a good job.”
That’s correct. I Initially said it would’ve been nice to give Myers the chance to go eight, but Manuel is right. Bring in your lefty against a tough lefty stretch of the Pirate lineup. Pull Myers on a high note. Sell high. When dealing with a guy who has struggled and is trying to get back to a comfort zone, every hitter is crucial.
I will say, however, that I’m glad Myers got upset. I’m glad he broke the unspoken rule. (What’s with these unspoken rules anyway?) Myers yammered on and on about finding the fun, and getting back his intensity, and yadda yadda yadda. All I cared about is if he could go seven. Well he went seven, and he looked great. If intensity and fun comes with it, then that’s cream, baby.
Face it: Myers is a prima-donna, self-centered jerk. He is. He needs to be center of attention whenever he’s involved. That’s why he wanted to stay in the game. That’s why he yelled and created a show after being pulled. But if he’s pitching well, I don’t give a crap. Manuel knows how to deal with prima-donnas (see Ramirez, Manny), and the situation has already been smoothed over. That Myers was acting like a jerk shows me he’s getting back to where he should be. And that’s the Myers the Phillies need down the stretch — the d-bag, a-hole, j-off jerk face. That’s the leader this team (lethargic in other areas right now) needs.