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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

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JW: "Look for Myers to thrive in the new role."

Or not.

What I've seen of Myers the last few years makes him look not like a closer, but more like a guy trying to hang on with one of the worst teams in the big leagues. I'm curious as to what his out pitch is supposed to be these days?

When he closed for the Phillies, he was throwing 95+ - which is precisely how he came to be a guy who throws about 87 now. Pretty idiotic and desperate even for a basement team to not recognize that Myers' strikeout rate has plummeted since that '07 season.

From what I've seen, Myers' stuff has seriously declined. It's an odd decision to make him closer, to say the least.

Of course, it's completely irrelevant. The Astros are likely the worst team in the league again, and closers are certainly irrelevant for losing teams.

When you've got a rotation that strong, it makes total sense to move a guy like Myers to closer. I mean, otherwise, he's fighting for that 5th spot, right?

Myers' fastball has certainly declined. But he still has a pretty curveball. Not sure that's the recipe for a closer, but in a relief role, he may get some velocity back on his fastball.

And as noted, who cares who closes for the worst team in baseball?

The Questions:

Does moving to the closer's role allow Myers to throw harder in limited duty as opposed to pacing himself? If so, how much velocity can he be expected to reagin?

"regain"

I do not expect that Myers' worst enemy in a closing role will be the loss of velocity on his fastball; his worst enemy will be his own headcase nature. He'll probably save some games, including some high pressure ones. He'll also probably blow some that shouldn't have been easy.

In the end, though: meh. Good for him; he's got a new role again.

Myers also had a 2nd half that was Cy Young worthy in '08. Single weirdest single season I can remember by a Phils' starter. Without him though, I don't know if they win the East by 3 games in '08 over the Mets.

Always a guy I had mixed feelings on though including having a tough time rooting for him given his persona and stupid machismo. Wasn't sad in the least to see him go after the '08 WS.

It is amazing if you look at Myers' tenure in Philly just what a mediocrity (even disappointment) he was:

8 years, 73-63, 4.40 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 3.1 BB/9, 7.5 K/9, 2.4 K/BB, 99+ ERA

Basically a middle to back-end starter depending upon the year.

MG: I'll always remember the 90(?) pitch complete game he threw against the Brewers in the 2nd game of the double-header on Sunday where we swept the 4-game series from them and put ourselves in the pole position for a playoff spot.

In the top 5 moments of Myers' career with the Phils, alongside the save on the last day of 2007, "the walk", and his debut game at Wrigley.

MG: Except that he was very, very good in the 2005 and 2006 seasons, before they moved him to the bullpenin 2007 in order to accomodate Adam Eaton in the rotation. He was never the same after that.

I never understood that move. Myers had a 118 and 120 ERA+ in 2005 and 2006, at ages 24 and 25. He was entering his prime as one of the better young starters in the NL. Myers was never particularly mature, and he probably wouldn't have capitalized on his talent regardless, but I always wonder about how he would have developed if the Phils had simply put him at the front of the rotation in 2007 and left him there.

'08 suddenly seems long ago. Lidge and Myers were integral parts, now rival closers . Pat the Bat off the beer wagon , now a rival coach.

I think we need another World F'n Championship and start some new memories.

Long time between the Whiz Kids and 1980.
Long time between '80 and '08'
Lets not wait so long this go round.

He's been fixated on being a closer since he was put back into the rotation. So, I guess he gets what he wants? At any rate, I'd be hard pressed to dig up any recent peripherals that suggest that he'll perform well in this new role.

Maybe he just figured he might as well make the move before the 'stros head to the AL and he can REALLY show his arse every fifth day (and he won't be able to bat anymore anyway...).

@MG: didn't he leave after 2009?

Greg - Meant '09 WS. Typo.

Silver lining:

Myers will be an upgrade at closer for the Astros over Lyon. Just won't get a chance for that many save opportunities and help there pennant chances much.

Astros are long odds for everything when I was out in Vegas last week in a few sports books. Starting at a minimum of 150:1 to win the NL and as high at 300:1.

As I recall, Myers gained a good 4 to 5 MPH of velocity when we moved him from starter to closer. And he's still got that good hook. He should be fine out of the pen. I think people tend to underestimate just how much better a guy's stuff can look when he only has to throw 20 pitches in a game. Myers is still a damn sight better than guys like Contreras and Chan Ho Park, who both took to the bullpen quite well.

Can't say I see Brett getting many save opportunities for that pile of dung Houston. Wish him well though.

And to think his most memorable moment as a ballplayer could be/probably is the most important at bat of the 2008 playoffs for the eventual WS winner.

Brown in LF, Mayberry at 1B and Wigginton at 3B tomorrow.

Though, clearly Cholly has finally wised up, as Goosewurst will get the start at C. I think we're headed for a breakout season.

Pierre at DH is interesting to me. It says "we want to see what he can do at the plate, but we don't have anywhere to really put him in the field."

Oh, and in case you didn't see the whole lineup yet:

Rollins - SS
Pierre - DH
Victorino - CF
Pence - RF
Wigginton - 3B
Brown - LF
Mayberry - 1B
Martinez (yeah) - 2B
Goosewurst - C

And, as if scrutinizing early Spring Training lineups isn't over-analysis enough, there's always the quote from Charlie about Ultey and Polly not playing as part of a plan to take it easy on them this Spring.

Over/Under on Martinez's hits vs. a College team --

1.5

I'm taking the under.

First saw Martinez at Clearwater last year, as much as Mayberry looks like a ball player just judging from appearances, Martinez looks like a bat boy.
Still I will take the over.

Spring Training is a time for wild optimism.

"It says "we want to see what he can do at the plate, but we don't have anywhere to really put him in the field."


WP, I must ardently disagree.

The first exhibition game of the season vs. a college team?

It says absulutely nothing.

"absolutely"

Myers and trade value:

Given that the Astros will be sellers at the deadline and that Myers is an impending FA, I wonder if the Astros think they can get more value as a closer at the deadline instead. He's almost certainly going to be moved.

Probably a better chance he post decent numbers as a closer vs. starter. If he does, his trade value increases a bit.

That is a good point MG.

donc - That is Lyon is terrible and coming off a major issue to boot. Astros are going to be epically bad this year and next. Literally at least a 3-year minimum window until they will sniff .500 again.

Other interesting thing I saw this is that supposedly Cholly wants Vic, JRoll, and Mini-Mart to bunt a bit more. That's surprising. It mainly focused on Vic and how he got 8 base-hits in 2008 via bunt and zero since.

Either way, Vic is really the only guy on this team with the raw speed and ability to do so. JRoll doesn't have the wheels anymore especially if he is batting RH. Mini-Mart is just a poor bunter (little man with no man skills).

One thing I am curious to watch this spring is if Cholly does have more guys bunting and they do play a bit more hit & run.

Deep in my heart, I know that a spring training opener against a college team, with Michael Martinez, Dom Brown & Tuffy Gooswurt in the starting lineup, is not a great predictor of 2012 regular season results. I also know that said spring training opener is still a full day away. Yet, despite all that, I already find myself feeling infuriated about the Phillies' lack of offense in tomorrow's game.

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/broadcaster-rankings-tv-30-21/

TMac/Sarge/Wheels ranked as #26.

26. Philadelphia Phillies
Broadcasters: Tom McCarthy, Chris Wheeler, and (sort of) Gary “Sarge” Matthews
Ratings (Charisma/Analysis/Overall): 2.6, 2.7, 2.7

Three Reader Comments
• “I remember watching all 19 innings of the Reds vs Phillies game last year on mute.”
• “Tom is fine. Sarge thinks that hitting is an important part of winning.”
• “Gary Matthews… must go. His splendid hats may stay.”

Notes
Philadelphia fans very clearly miss Harry Kalas, courtesy of whom they were treated to Excellence in Broadcasting for decades. Fans appear split on Matthews, which is generally the product of a stronger personality."

I don't know if they are that bad but when it is TMac/Sarge in the 4th-6th innings on TV is often tough to listen to.

Often listen to the radio anyways to catch the game since I am busy doing something else but I find that I almost always turn on the radio for LA and Franske in the middle frames.

Though, clearly Cholly has finally wised up, as Goosewurst will get the start at C. I think we're headed for a breakout season.

I can't imagine that a lot of Goosewurst would be good for the skin.

MG, good observation about moving Myers to a position that will make him attractive to other teams before the mid season trading deadline.

As for Danys Baez, I have a feeling that Dontrelle Willis will be Danys Baez II.

We smartly did not give Willis a 2 year deal...or even a MLB guaranteed deal.

LF you may be right about Willis' level of performance but the contract couldn't possible be as wasteful as the Baez deal. That one stang. If Willis stinks the Phillies cut bait.

That's good, but knowing Cholly's allegiance to veteran players, they'll probably hang onto Dontrelle for much longer than they should.

Closer = official name for guy who drinks the last of the beer in the 'Stros clubhouse on a daily basis.

You know spring is upon us when:

(a) the swallows return to San Juan Capistrano; or

(b) MG is dumping on Wheels, T-Mac & Sarge.

I thought MG went very easy on The Three Stooges. Like hitting a pinata with a wiffle ball bat.

don: He needs some time to work his way into mid-season form. It's still early in spring training.

One of my favorite Beerleaguer pasttimes is watching MG and TTI go at it after MG writes a rant about Sarge and Wheels, Cholly's bullpen management, or Reading's latest promotional gimmick.

Yeah BAP. Me too. The bullpen thing gets old but the other two are tremendous. My favorite thing to do on BL is torch Curly, Larry and Mo. I am so opinionated on the matter, I think I may need therapy. Amazing to see that so many other fans feel the same way about their announcers. Ours are terrible but I have a feeling there are even worse teams out there. Probabl lots of them.

It's so bad in Philly for baseball announcers these days that Wheels is at the pinnacle of talent and popularity when compared to TMac (aren't nicknames reserved for people you like?) and Matthews.

LA and Franzke are much better, but it's tough to synch up the stream on mlb.com because it uses more bandwidth and causes my router to freeze.

Watch out with the loose nickname talk, you don't want to jolt Terry from his off-season slumber.

Overeager Phillies Media Intern: "Good news, everybody: the Phils TV team placed sixth on a list of TV baseball announcers! The bad news: it was list of the 30th-21st best announcers..."

Still better than the Braves, who are by far the worst I've heard... petulant, biased even for a hometown announcing team, and hateful towards any stat more complicated than ERA. If you account for Phils' fans inherent negativity, their adjusted TV+ ranking would probably be four or five slots higher...

*Phils fans'

The thing about TMac is, that he is so ill suited to baseball. He's a VERY capable basketball broadcaster. He's fine doing A10 broadcasts and St. Joe's.

When he did Radio for the Phillies I didn't mind him, because on radio you need someone to fill in the gaps.

TV doesn't require it, yet he feels the need to and then some. Its not a "he's not Harry" kind of thing. (Although, ask my mother and she thinks TMac pushed him out of the booth escalating his demise -- Moms.)

No one seems to have much of an issue with Franzke, who is really good (but perhaps overrated in comparison to the stooges) and maybe without the chemistry of LA might not be as good as we think. But the enjoyment of Franzke is not affected by the Harry thing.

We were blessed with Harry (and of course Richie), but we aren't pining for the past. We just want a guy who just shuts up once and a while. TMac has never met a sentence that didn't require 10 to 15 extra words.

I do think TMac has improved a bit since he first started and I actually don't hate Wheels. Just find it tough to listen to TMac and Sarge because both guys talk an awful lot which leads to them talking over the actual game or going off on a tangent.

Wow, I just looked at the mlb.com television schedule and things sure have changed since the old days. There are a lot of televised Phillies Spring Training games this year. That never used to happen.

When I was a kid, the announcers across baseball were very good: Harry Carey, Vin Scully, Red Barber, Mel Allen, Chuck Thompson, Russ Hodges, Milo Hamilton, Ned Martin, Ernie Harwell, Bob Elson, Bob Prince, Lindsay Nelson.

I'd say 80% of the MLB teams had excellent announcers and they usually did both TV and radio.

Today, no more than 30% or 40% of the MLB announcers are any good. Most of them are either totally boring and bland like Scott Graham or actively annoying like McCarthy.

In an interview with CSN, J-Roll comments that Manuel has always deferred to the hitting coaches instead of taking an active role in working with players on their swing. He also said that he is taking a more active role this spring.

I find this interesting because many people on BL have told me that Manuel always has been the hitting coach for this team, despite the fact that, you know, they have a hitting coach. I guess that myth has been dispelled.

I think many people have unrealistic expectations about what exactly a hitting coach is capable of accomplishing. Hitting coaches deal in the mechanics of hitting. They break down tape, tell hitters what they seem to be doing wrong, and make suggestions about how they might try to fix the problem. But I seriously doubt that any hitting coach can prevent a hitter from swinging at pitches 3 feet outside the strike zone, and I seriously doubt they have much advice to impart when it comes to things like whether to take or swing on a particular count. And when Beerleaguers fret about the Phillies' "bad approach at the plate," I'm pretty sure this is precisely the kind of stuff they're referring to.

Iceman, if that is, indeed, true, and Martinez somehow posts a line above .200 this season, I don't see how Manuel isn't Mgr of the Year.

Oh, and Franzke is great. But most of what makes him fantastic is his rapport with L.A. You can't learn that kind of synergy - it's either there or it's not (as with TBag/Wheels/Sarge).

That article on Jamie Moyer was quite the fun read. He really is one of the more interesting characters in baseball over the last 30 years. Extremely unorthodox career arc, and I wish him all the best in Colorado.

Best line: "Moyer played on the 1986 Cubs with Ron Cey, who played on the 1971 Dodgers with Wilhelm, who played on the 1952 Giants with Max Lanier, who played on the 1938 Cardinals with Guy Bush, who played on the 1911 Phillies with Grover Cleveland Alexander. One hundred years of baseball connected by six links."

Incredible.

Am I crazy or is there is a real dislike between Sarge/TMac simmering under the surface? I get the sense there is. Forced laughter & they tend to almost try to talk over one another at times.

As for the R-Phils promotions, there really isn't anything that crazy this year.

A couple of lame promotions though including a picture of '11 Eastern League All-Star, Mike Spidale?!! on Apr. 24 and a Vance Worley 'Vanimal' garden gnome on On July 25th.

My vote for lamest is the free loaf of Stroehman bread that the first 2,000 adults aged 15 and older will get on Aug. 24 on Aug 5th. I understand they are giving out a hot dog vendor floot mat to kids but they really feel the need to entice adults to the ball park with a loaf of really crappy white bread?

Maybe you count the Ryan Howard Pillow Case on Aug. 28th but strikes me as just more of an odd promotion than lame.

The only really bad one is the 4th Annual 'Gluttony Night.' Lord knows there aren't enough fat people already in Berks County.

Sadly there are no Tuffy Goosewurst-related promotions scheduled.

http://www.milb.com/news/print.jsp?ymd=20120202&content_id=26553146&vkey=news_t522&fext=.jsp&sid=t522

If you are going to give away a loaf of bread the one night, you should make it a weekend giveaway series where the next night each adult gets 2 slices of Kraft individually wrapped sticks of cheese and on the last game of the series they get two tabs of butter from a local dairy (Clover Farm's).

It could be the 'Grilled Cheese' giveaway weekend!

In all seriousness though, they are having fireworks 29 times this year. If you are going to drive to Reading to catch some of the Phils' younger talent, go on a night they have fireworks. Underrated and you really get good value.

29 fireworks nights? Pittsburgh East.

In Mets news . . .

https://twitter.com/#!/Mets/status/174211293765566465/photo/1

There's no need to fear, the undershirts are here.

2011 phillies yearbook is on The Comcast Network right now. I suggest everyone tune in.

fatal: "One hundred years of baseball connected by six links."

Ever try http://www.baseball-reference.com/oracle/ ?

Its pretty fun. Michael Martinez links to Honus Wagner in 7 teammates:

#1. Michael Martinez played with Brad Lidge for the 2011 Philadelphia Phillies

#2. Brad Lidge played with John Franco for the 2005 Houston Astros

#3. John Franco played with Tony Perez for the 1985 Cincinnati Reds

#4. Tony Perez played with Joe Nuxhall for the 1965 Cincinnati Reds

#5. Joe Nuxhall played with Estel Crabtree for the 1944 Cincinnati Reds

#6. Estel Crabtree played with High Pockets Kelly for the 1929 Cincinnati Reds

#7. High Pockets Kelly played with Honus Wagner for the 1917 Pittsburgh Pirates

If Moyer cranks it up to 86 - 88 mph after Tommy John surgery (with movement; he88, what lefty doesn't have movement on his fastball...), his 71 mph change might corkscrew a LHB right up to his shins. Can't wait to see how he does -- especially in that thin Denver air. What a pitcher.

Wow, thanks for the link, lorecore.

Oracle actually ties Jamie Moyer to Glover Cleveland Alexander in 5 links:

1. Jamie Moyer played with Guy Hoffman for the 1986 Chicago Cubs

2. Guy Hoffman played with Minnie Minoso for the 1980 Chicago White Sox

3. Minnie Minoso played with Granny Hamner for the 1959 Cleveland Indians

4. Granny Hamner played with Gus Mancuso for the 1945 Philadelphia Phillies

5. Gus Mancuso played with Pete Alexander for the 1928 St. Louis Cardinals

New thread.

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