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Monday, April 28, 2008

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Dubes knows his stuff, but I have a hard time believing long tossing between starts will take his fastball from 88 to 93. There has to be more to it than that.

I can see some validity to the theory that Dubee apparently holds - greater elasticity and strength should help improve leverage and speed. The only silver lining to that ineffective performance yesterday was my last-minute decision to forego scalping a ticket to teh game and to take a nice long nap on the couch to the soothing sounds of the Phillies' slumbering bats.

"Dubes knows his stuff"???

I guess.

Although, his first year with Myers which coincided with Myers breakout... Credit went to Dube's as opposed to the friction with Kerrigan which supposedly thwarted Myers performance.

Myers ceiling as a starter is probably always going to be #2 starter on a playoff team. A #1 starter on a bottom rung team. As a closer, his ceiling could be a 40 to 45 save guy with regular All-Star appearances.

Which would Brett rather be?

This shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who has followed the Phils over the last five years. Myers is the type of player you'd (I'd) like to root for, but he makes it difficult sometimes. I understand the closer to starter issue here, but isn't that just making excuses for a guy who is being paid to pitch under any situation for this team....

Why do we constantly lose sight of the bottom line; professional pitcher = pitches professionally.

Now, Myers might be the sort to be elected "least professional" in that clubhouse, but last I checked, he's still on the payroll.

I'm going to have to go with him being off of the performance enhancing drugs. Look at Zito and Gagne....the same thing is happening to Myers.

It's either that, or his rotator cuff has Freddy Garciaed.

Neither are good for your "ACE"

Myers' problem is that he wants maximum performance from minimum effort. Like us regular folks, not everyone gives 100% to their job...how many Utleys do you know at your workplace? Myers has a million dollar arm, but the 10 cent head prevents him from getting the most out of it and winning 15-20 games a year.

Any chance we can trade him for a foreign born competitive eater?

I am the Chase Utley of my workplace. Every day I leave work with ink stains on my collared shirt. Whatever it takes.

No truer statement on the subject has ever been written: "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."

He's embraced his move back into the rotation, as the "ace" BTW, like a 3 year old leaving Chuck E Cheese's - kicking and screaming the whole way. I understand that he enjoyed his short stint as a closer (and the lack of preparation, understanding the opposing team's lineup, etc), however the reality is that he's being paid starter money and the Phils have a closer.

I half-wonder if Myers was waiting for the 'pen to implode (it still might) to get some leverage to move back. At this point, who cares? His unwillingness to embrace his assignment to the starting role speaks more about him as a competitor (or lack thereof) than anything else. The constant whining about starting is shocking. Sadly, there is no shortage of pitchers who would love to be in his shoes and just don't have the talent.

The problem with Myers is that he doesn't seem to be the most analytical guy in the world. Unfortunately, he's not listening to Dubee, who is paid to be analytical.

Brett Myers just comes off really poor in the article. I still wonder though if Myers had some kind of lingering effects from the shoulder injury last year. Might have pitched hurt and you might be seeing the results this year. Kind of a dead arm that has robbed Myers' of some of his velocity.

Or maybe Myers' is just being lazy and he isn't young enough anymore that he can just magically throw 93-94 MPH without at least some minimum prep work including long-tossing more frequently.

Don't think it is a single factor though but I do think Myers is hurting to some degree. Combination of too proud/stupid to admit it right away. I am still predicting some about Myers' being injured comes out in June sometime.

Even if Myers was throwing high 80s cheese, he can still be an effective starter. That is the point I bet that drove Dubee ape sh!t. Dubee told him not to throw his cutter much since there wasn't enough difference in velocity yesterday between his fastball. Instead work the curveball in there more often and locate the fastball.

Of course by the 2nd inning, Myers was already ignoring Dubee and going with the slop including his cutter. That really has not to do about being "analytical." Myers' was just being a horse's a$$ and that is why Dubee ripped him in the Zolecki article. Myers basically stood up Dubeee in front of the team and the manager. That can't play well with Dubee.

One thing I'd like to know is whether Myers' fastball was present in spring training, when he had several excellent-to-dominant outings. What was working for him then that isn't now? Pitchers frequently go through a 'dead arm' phase at precisely this time of the year which results in a loss of velocity, though such a phenomenon ordinarily wouldn't go on for this long.

I don't know if I concur with the "closer trying to cut it in the rotation" assessment - Myers has spent the vast majority of his professional career as a starter. But of course what you're getting at here, the idea that Myers now *thinks* of himself as a rock-star closer, is accurate enough.

"Meanwhile, Brett Myers hardly produced a quality start last night, yielding six earned runs, eleven hits (two of them homers) and two bases on balls in seven innings last night. This is Myer's pattern and we might as well get used to it. Last night he didn't look like he had much on his fastball and his curve didn't have its best bite."

I wrote that after his previous start making yesterday's losing effort the second straight appearances in which his fastball was seriously sub-par. I find it difficult to imagine he has a "dead arm" at this juncture of the season and I don't think there is a sudden lack of preparation given it's doubtless Myers has ever prepared much if any.

i was at the game yesterday, and while i didn't have the best seats for watching myers' pitching (i was hugging the line and getting a good look at that cuddly, adorable, so taguchi though), i felt it was a bit of a phoned in performance. the whole team looked flat and ready to go home. it seemed like brett made a lot of dumb mistakes, like walking maholm and then going after mclouth. and i guess the box score doesn't show it, but it felt like the pirates baserunners pretty much had their choice of when they wanted to run.

but yeah, boring game, even in person in a beautiful park. hopefully they show some more fight against the pads.

Unless you happen to be one of the ones who owns the business and works 24/7, 365, there probably are not too many Chase Utleys out there.

Anyway, I believe there are a combination of factors at work here.

(1) Myers ain't no Chase Utley in terms of work ethic or game preparation.

(2) He's mentally better suited to the closer role and isn't happy about the change. The fact that things aren't going smoothly may be leading him to throw up his hands in frustration rather than grit his teeth and work through it.

(3) There may be some leftover shoulder problems that are causing the loss of velocity. He was hitting 98-99 a couple of times right at the end of the year. A complete workup, MRI, etc. is due to eliminate or confirm this as part of the problem.

(4) If there are not physical factors involved he may need a few more games to adjust before pushing the panic button. Hopefully, the recent closed door meeting may snap him back to reality and make him realize that if he is sulking, not prepping adequately, etc. it will soon hurt his credibility with the team, the fans, and ultimately his paycheck.

(5) If this doesn't work they may need a true "Come to Jesus" meeting with him and to start considering whether you give a malcontent what he wants to appease him and salvage what you can, or whether you consider how best to market him and fill the missing pieces of the puzzle.

(6) The significant loss of velocity is very troubling and makes you wonder whether he could even revert to the role of an effective closer. Anyone have any stats on whether a closer has gone back to a starting role successfully and how long it took for them to adapt. Darned if I can think of any off the top of my head right now.

I'll say this... the Phils asked for this. It was this organization's choice to move him into the closer role. When they did so, they said he wouldn't be yanked back and forth. Now maybe they meant just during the season... but it's clear he's been yanked back. He prefers the bullpen and the Phils need him in the rotation. I think we all guessed there could be some downside to it all despite the obvious talent.

Bob: John Smoltz

He's a sparkling 44-26 since returning to the rotation in 2005 after 4 years as a closer.

For the record, Smoltz was 0-3 with a 4.30 ERA after his first four starts of the year after coming back into the rotation.

By start #6 (where Brett is now), Smoltz was 2-3 with a 3.22 ERA.

This loss in velocity is definately something new, as in last game. He had been hitting 97 in the games prior to the Colorado game. I watched the Rox game and though he didn't reach 97, his speed was within a reasonable variation of that. Yesterday was different. He was topping out under 90 MPH.

My theory is that he was throwing too hard in the previous starts. He was always in the 93-95 range during the last couple of years before he was a closer. When he started closing his velocity spiked. I figured he would tone it down a bit, but he was blazing it to start the season. I'd like to think that he could always throw that hard, but the fact that those high velocity pitches only showed when he started closing, tells me that it is something that he can only do in short bursts.

I think he has worn himself out trying to pitch 6-7 innings with his closer-esque velocity. His most recent win, he was electric the entire game, but he was throwing extremely hard. I have to think that he is either suffering from fatigue or is injured.

Ryan Dempster was the closer for the Cubs last year and now he is in the rotation. His line this year is 3-0 2.90 ERA

CJ, Reverend,

Thanks for the input. Something tells me Myers probably doesn't have Smoltz' head on his shoulders, but he's a clear example that it can be accomplished in the right circumstances.

And I think you're right, in our heart of hearts we knew there could be problems with this. I don't know Myers and I don't know the dialogue that went on, but there may just be a bit of Phils' ham handedness involved here.

John Smoltz was the name that immediately came to mind, and he did it much later in his career than where Myers is now.....

>...however, we ARE talking about John Smoltz here...AND Brett Myers.

Not one person would ever confuse their aptitude scores.

If the paper reported that he has consistently not hitting the 90's throughout the entire season, that is simply wrong. Unless the radar guns I was watching were way out of tune, but I didn't see Moyer hitting 90 on any of the guns. It was only this most recent start against the Pirates where there was a noticeable dip in his velocity.

If that is the report, then it is misleading. This is why I think it is fatigue or injury. The velocity had been there, just not in his last start.

I'm going with MG that, given the Phils' history, Myers is not at 100% health. We still don't really know what the problem with his shoulder was last year, so thinking that he has lingering effects is not that odd.

This loss in velocity is definately something new, as in last game. He had been hitting 97 in the games prior to the Colorado game. I watched the Rox game and though he didn't reach 97, his speed was within a reasonable variation of that. Yesterday was different. He was topping out under 90 MPH.

Parker when has Myers eat touched anywhere near 97 on the gun this year? He was been at most topping out at around 92 or 93 MPH max.

The more puzzling thing is that for some reason Myers can't rev it up to 95 MPH or so when he needs with a high fastball. This is something that Myers has always been able to do as a starter. Just hasn't been there this year.

I don't know if Myers is still trying to find out how to pace himself but it just strikes me as very odd that a guy would experience just a drop off in velocity in his fastball.

The conspiracy nut in me says "Myers is hurt and doesn't want to admit it" but the more rational part says "its only been 6 starts and you have to see where Myers is at around Memorial Day before becoming worried."

This may just be a dead-arm period we always hear about early in the season. I know this "ailment" was used with Schilling whenever his velocity was down early in the season. Let's see if he can work through it.

Please, CJ - don't make any more excuses for Myers than he's already made for himself. You're saying this is the Phillies' fault? What happened with his injury last year, when he was abruptly thrust in the closer's role, was probably their fault. What's happening now isn't. He had all kinds of time to prepare for starting, which would have amounted to the same preparation he'd done for every other season in his career.

RSB: I'm certainly not blaming the Phillies. Only that I'm not surprised. We've known for a long time that Brett Myers isn't the most mature player on the team. They placed him a position he wanted and a position he believed he could thrive. They told him he'd be moving there and staying. Then they moved him.

If he were a mature player, he'd take it in stride. He's not. That's his fault. I wish he were more mature. I don't think he's injured, but I could be wrong. I think it's his head. I'm hoping it gets fixed.

One other note: Brett Myers was 0-3 with a 9.39 ERA before moving to the bullpen last year.

"They told him he'd be moving there and staying."

They promised him he'd stay in the pen? I've never heard that.

Inside/Outside - You are the one completely wrong on the velocity issue. You can go back to every Myers start and my posts during and following the game and see that I've been saying the guy's velocity is down and I'm predicting a similar situation which happened last year in florida. He's going to do some damage to that arm because he's obviously hurt.

In General THe Phils do not have a great track record when it comes to diagnosing and treating injuries correctly (this goes for pitchers and position guys as well). I.E. Myers shoulder/forearm, Garcia torn rotator cuff, Gordon's mistreatment, Rollins ankle, Vic's calf issues, Rolen's back, Hamel's arm, back and chiropractor, etc. the list goes on and on as far back as I can remember.

It would be nice if they spent the $500 deductible and get the guy an exam or scan. But that would mean they'd have to sell an extra 500 hot dogs tomorrow to fit it into the budget.

Oh yeah just want to let you all know that tommorrow is Dollar Dog Nite (AKA College Idiots Night in Ashburn Alley). So if you have tickets and are taking any young children you may want to avoid certain areas of the OF.

Congrats to LIEBY! Heard they are doing something special for him in the future.

CJ: agreed with Jeltz, they never told Myers he was the closer for good, just the remainder of last season.

Side note: why are the Phillies talking about playing Werth in center and Victorino in right? Does that make any sense? They're saying the advantage of having Victorino's arm in RF outweighs the advantage of having his speed in CF? I completely disagree with that.

Steve Jeltz: Perhaps I'm remembering wrong, but it seems to me there was a lot of talk about yanking Brett back and forth. Again, as I said, it may have been just about yanking DURING a season, but it's clear Brett wanted to stay in the bullpen.

My post from Thursday April 17 2008 1:09 PM: While watching the game against the Astros.

"Brett coming out with just a bit of heat. Touching 98 MPH a few pitches ago."

I saw it and that is what I typed. Either the gun lied or I can't tell the difference between an 8 and a 3, but I know that he touched 97 and 96 as well in that first inning, so there is no chance that I made that mistake. You can say his velocity was down last game, but it was there and more the first couple of starts. In the Rox game he wasn't throwing that type of heat, but he was at his normal range.


Hmmmm... I don't get the advantage of having Shane in right vs. Werth... especially since Werth seems to have an adequate arm as well.

IMO it's pretty simple: The Phillies are better defensively with Vic in cF and Werth in RF.

I also think there are several questions surrounding Myers:

Is it maturity, or is he simply not mentally tough enough?

Is he being lazy? Selfish?

Does he prefer the bullpen because he doesn't have to work as hard? He starts to look like Boomer Wells toward the end of the season, so hard work to him ain't the same as hard work to Jamie Moyer.

Is it just arm fatigue, or is he injured and won't say so?

Here is a needed link to the pitch f/x data so far on Myers from Josh Kalk's site (granted still some bugs in the data from Sports Vision that will have to be adjusted for and Kalk will do this later in the year so these numbers may change slightly. Also important to note that the numbers are standardized for comparison):

http://baseball.bornbybits.com/2008/Brett_Myers.html

It shows though:

1. Myers' average velocity on his fastball so far is 90 MPH with no fastball recorded faster than 95 MPH.

2. Myers has been going with the slider (if the pitch classification is right at each park) more than anything else (42% of his pitches vs only 32% of his pitches for fastballs).

3. Oddly enough Myers is only throwing arguably his best pitch (his curve) only 16% of the time.

So the Pitch f/x data back up the assertion that Myers' overall fastball velocity is down so far this season and for some reason he is going to his slider probably more than he should.

The sample sizes are just too small though right now to really make any inferences though about particular counts but Dubee is right - Myers need to going more with his fastball and throwing the curve more.

That's interesting, MG. Thanks for the post. I second the earlier claim that I've seen the TV speed higher than 95 MPH before on Myers' ball, including opening day where he was pushing triple digits in the first inning. I wouldn't be surprised if he was injured though, of course. In any case, I don't have much confidence in him (despite two solid starts a week ago.)

RSB - I don't understand this notion of using Werth in CF and Victorino in RF. Supposedly because Victorino has the better arm? Que?

Werth is passable in CF but wouldn't you want the guy with better range out there in CF instead particularly with Burrell in LF.

This to me is another example of Cholly being a stubborn SOB. Werth has been ok in CF so we will keep him there for the time being. Like moving Werth to RF will have some kind of impact on his offense? Really this makes no sense.

Now if Cholly doesn't think Victorino should be starting everyday that is entirely point entirely. Than I have no issues with Werth in CF but that is not what Cholly is saying.

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