Thursday, July 24, 2008

Back To Complain

If the first game with the Mets showcased all that was right with the Phillies: a team that plays hard for its leadership, a consistent 27-out effort, strong bullpen, a line-up littered with RBI bats- last night illustrated an awful lot of what is wrong.

Part of why Manuel is a players’ manager, why guys play for him, is his never ending confidence in them. Howard can hit .190 for half a season- and there is no thought of moving him out of the clean-up spot til he gets going.

But, concerning Brett Myers and Jimmy Rollins, enough is enough.

The Phillies have managed to take Rollins, a very good player having an admittedly iffy year, and turned him into a run-eating cancer. Last night was yet another1-for-4 night, no walks. You could survive his not so good .333 OBP as a lead off hitter when he was having an MVP year. But when he’s hitting .270 with a few HRs, you frankly can’t- particularly when there are options available with better OBP who aren’t currently trying bat after bat to set the table. Werth (.357 OBP) and Victorino (.350). Heck, just lead Werth off against LHP (.380)

Even worse, Rollins doesn’t have to be a cancer. He is hitting a decent .270, with some consistent extra-base pop, and a good RBI bat… he is a very credible six hitter in a line-up that needs one, or even the two-hole. I understand the loyalty to Rollins, I fully supported giving half-a-season to get his stuff worked out. But enough is enough- out of the lead-off spot he goes until he starts to hit again.

Second is Myers. You can’t give up on Myers. He has major league stuff- and the Phillies can start all over with him in the bullpen next year as a whole new official chance.

But these arguments that he has to be allowed to pitch through trouble to “find out what we have” are done, over. We know what we have for 2008- an AAA-level starter with confidence issues. If the Phillies want to run him out there a few more times- a tacit admission that the fifth rotation spot is held by an AAA-level pitcher with some ceiling (which admittedly is true a lot of the time in baseball, even on good teams)- I’m fine.

But this pro-baseball. If he walks three guys in an inning, etc.- he’s out. Myers is not an experiment any more- with an eye toward sacrificing two-three starts in May for two dozen quality efforts down the road. Frankly, Eaton is just hanging around right now, they have many credible long relief guys that- as the season winds down, no longer need to be saved for 162 game marathon. Have some one ready when Myers starts. If we’re going to carry twelve pitchers, have one dedicated to supporting the emotional cripple that is currently Myers.

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