Friday, August 8, 2008

Love is in the Eyre

I know, it doesn't make sense (unless you're Mrs. Eyre), but it's the best I could do on short notice.

Yes, the Phillies have acquired Scott Eyre (pronounced "air," so my headline almost works) from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for a single-A pitcher, Brian Schlitter. Eyre is a 36 year-old lefty who continues the 2008 Phillies tradition of acquiring washed up left-handed relievers. (Oh, Steve Kline, we hardly knew thee.)

Eyre was designated for assignment to make room for Kerry Wood, and looking at his stats, it's not hard to see why. Eyre has a 7.15 ERA this year, though that number is a bit deceptive, as the vast majority of his earned runs came in his last three outings.

For the better part of the first half, Eyre was utilized effectively (if sparingly) as a situational lefty. In sixteen appearances, he pitched 10 1/3 innings, usually just getting one or two outs a game, and boasted an ERA of 0.87. In fact, he did not allow a single run until June 15th.

Then things got bad. Real bad. On June 19th entered a game against the Tampa Bay Rays in the seventh inning of a 3-2 game with the bases loaded and gave up a grand slam, a triple, and a double, before getting the first out of the inning. He then surrendered another double before he was removed. He was attributed three earned runs and that shot his ERA to 3.38. Then on June 26th, he gave up another two runs on just one out and two days later, he hit the disabled list with a strained left groin.

He made a not-so-triumphant return to the majors in July, pitching what would be his final game for the Cubs on the day of the trade deadline, July 31st. He struggled once again, allowing three runs and getting just one out. Apparently that was the final straw. He has not been used since and the Cubs felt no need to keep him around.

So while his ERA is horrific, Eyre has been an effective pitcher for most of this season. When properly used, he can be a functional member of a bullpen and having a lefty besides J.C. Romero should prove an asset.

That said, it's never encouraging to read quotes such as the one from Ruben Amaro Jr., who said "We were looking at him a couple years ago." That's great, Ruben, but please tell me you've seen him since.

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