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Including last night’s start against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Brett Myers has pitched extremely well for the Phillies since returning to the Majors. He’s made four starts and has only given up six earned runs in 25 and two-thirds innings (2.10 ERA). He’s given up five or fewer hits in each start and has gone at least six innings in three of the four starts. The only concern remains his low strikeout rate (4.6 per nine innings) and the lack of velocity: his fastball still only averaged about 91.5 MPH against the Pirates. While this is good news considering that he was throwing around 87-89 MPH back in June, most of us are waiting for the Brett Myers who threw 94-95 MPH last season.
With two outs in the top of the eighth inning last night, Charlie Manuel elected to remove Brett Myers from the game with a left-handed hitter, Doug Mientkiewicz, due up. In the previous two at-bats, Chris Gomez hit a ground-rule double and Luis Rivas lined out to shortstop. Myers wasn’t happy with Manuel’s decision to let left-hander J.C. Romero pitch to the left-handed hitter, and the two engaged in a heated argument with each other in the dugout and in the tunnel.
You can watch the video of the argument by clicking here. Based on the commentary of Phillies broadcaster Chris Wheeler, the arguing between Myers and Manuel is common and Myers has made it known that he doesn’t like to come out of games. There’s nothing to be alarmed about. There is no team chemistry issue, Myers isn’t a bad influence in the clubhouse, and the Phillies’ offense isn’t despicable presently because Myers has anger problems and uses swear words. These arguments occur between players on all thirty Major League Baseball teams, most of them you just don’t see publicly. Dayn Perry has an excellent column on this very subject.
Myers, if he had a problem with being taken out, should have kept his mouth shut and talked about it with his manager when there aren’t TV cameras pointed at them from various angles. Even so, he was wrong anyway because he’d been hit hard in the previous two at-bats, had thrown 93 pitches (not terribly high for almost eight innings of work, however), and a left-handed hitter was at the plate in a 4-1 (read: close) game.
Regardless, the Phillies won the game and that’s all that matters. There is no issue with Myers, especially if he’s pitching this well. The real issue is with the offense: prior to last night’s game, the Phillies had been shut out for 23 consecutive innings and have scored only 21 runs in their last 8 games (2.63 runs per game). If anything deserving of blame, it’s the Phillies’ recent BABIP: .230 over their last 8 games.