The Philly papers dug into the Brett Myers missing fastball quagmire on a busy day for Philadelphia sports. Unfortunately, the situation reeks with a familiar stench. [Link]
Following another sheepish start featuring high-80s cheese, Myers was reportedly called into the boss’s office for a closed-door session. Then, pitching coach Rich Dubee suggested the right-hander isn’t taking the right approach on the mound, but also isn’t participating in enough long-tossing, which Dubee believes is an essential step in building and maintaining arm strength. Indeed, Myers’ fastball has been MIA this season, rarely hitting 90s on the gun. Myers was hit hard yesterday, continuing a trend of puzzling starts, rampant head scratching and universal frustration. “When will Myers get it?” fans wonder. And yada yada yada.
The Phillies wish it was as simple as having Brett pick up a baseball at 4:30 p.m. on an off day and throw it 90 feet to Mick Billmeyer. Dubee says a better approach and more long tossing are needed.
I’ll bet there’s more to it. I’m not sure Myers has accepted his reassignment to the starting rotation and all that comes with it – the prep work, the focus. He’s a closer trying to cut it in the rotation, content to mix it up with a couple different looks instead of taking a patient approach, establishing a rhythm and setting a tone through seven innings. How do I know? Because he says as much after every start.
His velocity is the other issue. The missing zip is alarming. Myers is a competitor and wants to pitch; if anyone would try to battle through bruises, it would be the former boxer on staff.
It would be easy to put the situation squarely on the shoulders of Brett Myers, to make the adjustments and move on. On the other hand, it must be hard to shake the words “premier closer” from your head, especially when the Phillies were the ones repeating it.