Brett Myers pitched six innings of angry, indigestion-inducing baseball, allowing five runs including three in the first inning, as the Phils fell to the Nationals 6-3 on dollar dog night.
Myers indeed came to work with his game goatee on, leaving calm and rationale on the kitchen table. All of his teeth-gnashing runs were surrendered via two-out homers, including two, two-run shots by Preston Wilson.
Gone are the days when I’d put Myers on the short list of best pitchers in the National League. I think back fondly on his first few starts when his ERA was hovering around 1.00, ranking among the league leaders in strikeouts.
I didn’t see any trace of that last night, only some ex-first-rounder with a chip on his shoulder trying to throw gas.
Early this season, it was a pleasant surprise to watch a young, ex-amateur fighter outsmart good hitters, setting them up for the cutter and sinking fastball he borrowed from stable mate Jon Lieber. And remember the hook he was dealing in the Sunday game against Atlanta back on July 2, an 8 1-3 inning chocolate souffle?
Since that night, it’s been all weiners and beaners. Myers has worked a string of short, high-pitch-count games similar to this one, none of them special in any way. Tonight was the most runs he’s allowed during that span, dooming the Phils in the first by allowing a three-spot by the visiting Nats, en route to their fourth-straight win on the road.
This was a hard loss, dropping another meaningful game against an NL East opponent and playoff contender. Livan Hernandez, a tough, durable right-hander, held the Phils to two runs in eight innings, all coming on a two-run single to left by Pat Burrell in the first.
Tom Goodman, author of the smart Phillies blog Swing and a Miss, is sure to point out the futility of the Phils’ offense, even coming off their latest 5-1 road trip. As Goodman pointed out in a therapeutic phone conversation last night, which went something like this …
JW: “This is garbage.”
TG: “Why is Myers pitching so angry?”
… the Phils’ offense hit about .250 on the West Coast and capitalized on only a handful of good innings. Aside from that, they’re still cold. And come on, fellas. NO game should pass without at least one homer in your home ballpark.
Topping the list of the inept is Jimmy Rollins, who’s 2-35 since Aug. 6. He and third baseman David Bell didn’t reach base last night.
And roundabout the eighth inning, when the cheap hot dogs were turning into acid indigestion for a crowd of 40,000, Aaron Futlz and Geoff Geary closed out the night. That’s like buying tickets for the Beatles and getting Herman’s Hermits instead.