Despite the Phillies losing four straight to the Los Angeles Dodgers, there is a diamond — albeit a small one — hidden in all that coal: Brett Myers is officially back. He turned in his fourth straight quality start in five starts since coming back to the Majors after his demotion after his start in Texas against the Rangers on June 27.
As we can see in the following chart, there’s a clear improvement just about everywhere for Myers. Aside from WHIP, they are all per-nine rates.
The only item that is concerning is the loss of more than two strikeouts per nine innings. However, it is a small sample size and given the information that will follow, it shouldn’t be a recurring problem.
It appears that Myers has his fastball back. Here’s a graph (click to enlarge) showing both his average and fastest speeds on his fastball in all of his starts this season. Keep in mind that he did not pitch from June 28 to July 22. Additionally, the X axis goes by intervals of seven days, so they don’t correspond with days he actually made a start.
Myers’ fastball was very inconsistent early in the season and barely broke 90 MPH on average. Recently, the average velocity has been rising essentially on a consistent basis, is averaging nearly 92 MPH, and has gone as high as 95 MPH.
Even though the Phillies are only 3-2 in Myers’ starts since returning, it’s not his fault. They’ve only given him 15 runs of support, an average of three runs per game. The offense, with a .238 BABIP in August, has been a big problem for the Phillies. Before the series finale against the Dodgers, they had a .713 OPS in August, their lowest OPS in any month this season (though it’s very close to the .715 OPS of June). It will go down to .687 after their 2-hit performance against the Dodgers in the finale.