Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Myers Shuts Down Nats

Brett Myers continued his re-emergence as a key member of the rotation by throwing a complete game shutout against the Nationals. Greg Dobbs supported him with a two run home run and the Phillies beat the Nationals 4-0. 

This has been an interesting year for Brett Myers. To be brief, he was supposed to be a key member of the rotation once the team acquired Brad Lidge, forming a 1-2 punch with Cole Hamels. He didn't, and eventually agreed to go to the minors. They've apparently fixed him up quite well, because since he's been back...

He's had an ERA of 1.94
He's lowered his overall ERA this season from 5.84 to 4.71
He's had progressively more strikeouts in each start - tonight he had 9
He's not allowed more than 2 walks in his last 5 starts 
He's not allowed more than 3 runs in any of his starts
He's only allowed more than 5 hits once: tonight. But throwing a complete game shutout makes up for that. 

When the Phillies walked away from the trade deadline with just Joe Blanton, it was unclear whether or not the Phillies would be able to make it over the hump. Blanton was a good acquisition since the team got a workhorse to stabilize the fifth slot in the rotation, but he wasn't the dominating pitcher the team needed to seriously have a shot if they could get to the playoffs. Getting Myers back in this rejuvenated form is exactly what the team needed. The rotation has been a strength for the team as of late: Cole Hamels is a definite ace, and his off-nights are never a concern given his composure; Myers has been stellar since returning from the minors; Blanton is a solid workhorse who will keep the team in the game while giving a lot of innings; Jamie Moyer has been fantastic of late, not allowing more than 3 runs in a start since June 1st and posting a sub-3.00 ERA in July/August. Kyle Kendrick has been the sore spot in the rotation, particularly in his last two starts in which he was unable to get out of the fourth inning, but Kendrick is a 23 year old prospect in his first full year as a big leaguer. As a fifth starter, he's been just fine, and the team has a couple of options should he continue to struggle. The team could see if Adam Eaton can have a Brett Myers-ish resurgence (unlikely) or call upon J.A. Happ who was great in the rotation earlier in the year. But at this rate, they shouldn't need either. Especially if Myers and Hamels do form that 1-2 punch everyone was hoping for in the beginning of the year. Tonight was proof that Myers could, despite the fact that this was against the Washington Nationals. It's still very exciting. 

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