IF THIS GAME wasn't the ideal situation to find out what Brett Myers could do in his new role, there was never going to be one.
Phillies starter Jamie Moyer had pitched brilliantly, throwing a no-hitter for 6 2/3 innings.
But in the top of the eighth, Moyer had surrendered both his second walk and second hit of the game. The Florida Marlins had the tying run at the plate in pinch-hitter Miguel Olivo.
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel had a decision to make.
He could have made the safe call. Few, if any, would have questioned him had he decided to stick with Moyer and see if the veteran could spin his way out of trouble.
But 10 days ago, when the decision was made to take Myers, who started Opening Day, out of the rotation to shore up the Phillies' beleaguered bullpen, this was the type of scenario everything was based on.
Frankly, if Manuel didn't have the confidence in Myers to stick him out there in the eighth inning of a game in which a lead was being threatened, he might as well have stayed a starter.
Myers, who had pitched six innings in five previous relief appearances, was outstanding.
He needed just nine pitches to strike out Olivo and pinch-hitter Mike Jacobs to end the Florida threat and set the table for the 6-1 victory.
"[Moyer] had 100 pitches and had already pitched a heck of a game," Manuel said. "I figured it was time to go and get him.
"I think today was good for [Myers]. He pitched to guys good. He went after their weaknesses and threw strikes."
Myers might have been the only one who believed going from a starter to a reliever wasn't going to be a huge adjustment. Maybe that's because he was the only one who knew he was not going to do anything differently.
"I don't think there's any more pressure because it's always about trying to get hitters out," Myers said of coming into a game-at-stake situation as opposed to starting the first inning. "Even as a starter, there are games to where you are in the seventh inning or whatever and a couple of guys get on and you've got to pitch that way.
"The only difference is that at this point in time when you come into a game, you aren't as tired as you would be had you already pitched seven innings.
"I like having the pressure of big situations. I went to the bullpen because I just thought it would better the team. We'll see."
From his years as a starter, Myers already has a personal handbook on most of the hitters he will face as a reliever.
He said the only thing he'll do different as a reliever than a starter is to immediately pitch to a hitter's weakness rather than necessarily throw to his own strengths.
"I know basically what [the batters'] weaknesses are," Myers said. "Usually as a starter, you didn't go right after a guy's weakness. You went to your strengths the first couple of times around and then when a big situation came around, you went after their weaknesses.
"As a reliever, you just have to come in, know their weaknesses and go right after those."
Considering Myers' move to the bullpen certainly seems to be long term, at least for this season, the only area of speculation is whether he is moving closer to going from setup man to closer.
Both Manuel and Myers say that is not even in the thought process because Tom "Flash" Gordon is still unquestionably the Phillies' closer.
Despite the fact that Myers threw just nine pitches, Manuel said he was never going to pitch the ninth inning, even if Greg Dobbs, who drove in three with a two-out double, had not hit for the pitcher in the bottom of the eighth.
"Flash has been doing the job for us, and he's going to do it all year," Myers said. "The best thing I can do is get the ball into his hands. That's all I'm trying to do."
Gordon has been shaky. He has four saves, but he also has three blown saves.
The interesting thing is that the Phillies have consistently said that part of Gordon's problem is that he has not gotten enough work to get into a groove.
Gordon warmed up for the ninth, but when Dobbs' double made it 6-0, Manuel decided to pitch Antonio Alfonseca in the ninth instead of giving Gordon some work.
"I might need [Gordon tonight against Atlanta] in a save situation," Manuel said of why he went to Alfonseca.