A Legendary At-Bat

No one with a solid grasp of logic picked the Phillies to win Game 2 of the NLDS against the Milwaukee Brewers. C.C. Sabathia is just too good and had been too dominant to go against him.

Brett Myers, pitcher and absolutely not a hitter extraordinaire, would have none of that. Unfazed by Sabathia’s 1.65 ERA as a Brewer, Myers was buried early in the count 0-2, but worked it back to 3-2, fouled off a tough pitch, and eventually worked the walk.

Here’s what the at-bat looked like in MLB Gameday:

Brett Myers first at-bat vs. C.C. Sabathia in Game 2 of the 2008 NLDS

As the baseball gods would have it, Myers’ walk paid dividends. Jimmy Rollins came up and worked a four-pitch walk to load the bases. Shane Victorino took two pitches for a 1-1 count before fouling off a tough fastball. C.C. thought he could get him with a slider, but thought wrong as Shane drove the slider over the left field seats for a grand slam, and the Phillies went up 5-1.

If you add up the 9 pitches Myers saw, the four that Rollins and Victorino each saw, and the three that Sabathia had to throw to strike out Chase Utley, you arrive at 20 pitches. Since Sabathia had Myers 0-2 and Myers is a pitcher, you could make the argument that Sabathia threw 17 more pitches than necessary because of the Phillies’ patience at the plate.

For a pitcher that threw 335 pitches in three starts in a span of nine days, the extra 20 pitches shaved an inning or two off of Sabathia’s max, which means more exposure to the Brewers’ flawed bullpen (which, unfortunately, looked pretty good last night).

When looking back on the Phillies’ road to the NLCS, Victorino’s grand slam will stick out like a sore thumb, but Myers’ at-bat was extremely important. Don’t forget it!

UPDATE: Myers worked another full count, but this time flew out to center fielder Mike Cameron on the tenth pitch. Myers’ plate approach is immaculate. All by himself, he’s seen 19 pitches in two at-bats.
Here’s the MLB Gameday view of the second at-bat:

Brett Myers' second at-bat against C.C. Sabathia in Game 2 of the NLDS

UPDATE #2: What do you know? In Myers’ third at-bat, this time against righty Seth McClung, he swung at the first pitch he saw and dropped it into shallow right field for a single to load the bases with two outs for Jimmy Rollins, who unfortunately lined out to Prince Fielder to end the inning.

UPDATE #3: Oh yeah, Brett Myers pitched well, too. His first inning was shaky, but his overall start was great. 7 IP, 2 ER, 2 H, 3 BB, 4 K.

Also, when the game ends (bottom of the 8th now), the LI and BABIP spreadsheets will be updated.