Phillies send Myers to minors
Brett Myers was the opening-day pitcher for the Phillies on March 31. Tonight, he expects to be the starting pitcher for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs.
Brett Myers was the opening-day pitcher for the Phillies on March 31.
Tonight, he expects to be the starting pitcher for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs.
Now that's a free fall.
But that's how this lukewarm-and-really-cold season has gone for Myers. Once the darling of the Phillies' pitching staff, he is 3-9 with a bloated 5.84 ERA.
Myers, sent down yesterday to the minor-league IronPigs to regain his pitching touch, has become the Phillies' poster boy for a star player gone bad.
A relief pitcher last season, he was shocked at the demotion but said he would do anything to help his team win.
"We're in a playoff race, and I have to be there to help my team," Myers said last night. "This isn't a question of what I want to do. It's what I have to do. . . . Obviously, I need to get my head in the right spot.
"I wasn't prepared to become a starter because my heart and my mind-set were still in the bullpen. That's my fault."
Myers is just the latest of the struggling Phillies to suffer such an ignominious descent. He joined Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard on the "What-has-gone-wrong?" list of Phillies stars.
Rollins, Utley and Howard may not have been forced to kick around in the minors to right their wrongs, but they have been big reasons Phillies fans have gone from planning their vacations around an October World Series to biting their fingernails during every at-bat.
"I think, probably, confidence-wise, he's as low as I've seen him," Phils pitching coach Rich Dubee said of Myers.
He could have been speaking about the whole team.
What started as the most promising season since 1993, when the Phillies went to the World Series and lost to Toronto, has started to unravel. The first-place Phils staggered into last night's 8-3 victory over the Braves in Atlanta having lost nine of 11 and three of their previous four games.
Fans had hoped it would not happen this season, not to this team.
How could it? Citizens Bank Park has been packed from Day One. The Phils climbed into first place in the National League East on May 1, won five straight and 12 of 14 from May 25 to June 8, and were 13 games over .500 on June 13.
They swept the Braves, their perennial nemeses, from June 6 to 8. Utley was hitting .317 with 21 homers and 56 RBIs, and was a leading candidate for National League MVP.
Then things turned sour.
Utley and Rollins inexplicably stopped hitting and joined Howard, who has been mired in a season-long funk, in the long-face line. The Phils lost six straight from June 17 to 24. They are just six games over .500 today and a scant game and a half in front of the second-place Florida Marlins.
No one seems to know what went wrong. Veteran pitcher Jamie Moyer suggested that some of the struggling stars might need to sit a game or two for perspective.
Rollins said the team needed pitching help badly, and manager Charlie Manuel said the players had better not be feeling sorry for themselves. After all, he said, they have only themselves to blame.
As for Myers, things could not be much worse. Still known as the Phillie who struck his wife, Kim, on the street in Boston in 2006, Myers wants to be a reliever, and the team wants him to be a starter.
Could there be a bigger disagreement?
If the Phillies don't emerge from this funk soon, this issue may be one of the minor ones. And Myers may not be the only player to have gone from the bigs to the Pigs.