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Tuesday, July 01, 2008

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IMO: The fact that Myers did take the assignment is a good sign that there is something bad wrong, something more than just a lack of confidence. I just can't imagine someone of Myers talents not going somewhere else unless he just has nothing left. I'm not saying steroids, but I can't say that the thought hasn't crossed my mind, particularly when you lose 9-10 MPH on your max fastball.

BTW: Iron Pigs may be a perfect fit, at least name anyway.

Holy Hell!

Taking the pressure off Myers will not solve the team's hitting woes.

Who else needs to be sent down?

One name: Carlos Ruiz (ok, technically that is two).

dc - Only the bottom half of the lineup, but who's counting?

(repeat from last thread) I wouldn't mind seeing a couple other guys joining Myers on his rehab assignment -- Ruiz & Jenkins for a start, now that Myers has set the good example.

myers blows. 24 homers.

BTW... if I were the Iron Pigs... I'd ask for a Physical on Myers.

BTW... Jason... I like the thought that this is not just an assignment to fix Myers... but also a "MESSAGE" sent to the rest of the clubhouse... that it doesn't matter if you make 8MM if you aren't performing at a major league level:
Ruiz, Jenkins, Taguchi I'm looking in your direction...

You will be sent down. And for those who are performing lower than expectations:
Howard, Rollins you better step it up...

Please note that I did not include Feliz or Eaton, because they are performing, well, about how I expect.

Figure it will be Happ who fills his spot right? Or could this be a situation where if Myers has one good start down there they bring him back up.

carlos carrasco coming up start?

A-freakin-men to this demotion. The guy is a whiny bawl-baby pissy-pants that deserves a slap in the face.

Hey Metfan, how about that Martinez cat? He seems to have run out of lives. John Maine isn't exactly lighting the world on fire. Oliver "Waltz" Perez?? Mike Paltry?

BTW: Tell us something we don't know. One weak link is better than 4 out of 5.

Aside from the direct impact of this move (removal of a garbage outing every 5th day)... I think the thing I am most excited about is the added sense of accountability... its good for the other players to see that their continued terrible play will result in consequences.

I'm expecting the phils to come out fast and hard tonight

"The guy is a whiny bawl-baby pissy-pants that deserves a slap in the face."

Carson, you never cease to get a chuckle out of me.

I hope you're not teaching little Collier Chase to rant like that - at least not until he's in his late teens. Somehow I don't think his mother would like it.

Nice to see Brett is man enough to try and work things out in Lehigh, however it is unexcusable that the Phils still cannot commit to a young arm like Happ! Why call him up at the last minute? He should be in Atlanta now! The Phils will probably screw things up even worse by starting Durbin for both Happ and Myers...

You have to give Myers credit for taking the demotion. This sends a kick ass message to everyone. I figured they would do something, such as DFA Taguchi, but this is definitely a shocker and it is good to see that Myers took the assignment. Maybe he can be this year's Pat Burrell. They should have still DFA'ed Taguchi during the off day.

Actually, Carson, my take on it is this:

The guy is a physically lazy, out-of-shape, ten-cent headed player who got a big contract, got fatter and happier because of it, and developed amnesia about what it took to get the contract in the first place.


AWH's prediction:

Myers is so far gone he will not be seen on the MLB roster again this season.


If he's hurt he'll get surgery, and if he's not he'll be in ST next year, because his contract makes him untradeable.

Yeah, lets ship Ruiz out while we are at it! The only problem is that it will probably take management another week to find out that Jaramillo should be called up, just like Happ now... Idiots...

That's one helluva prediction AWH. I think b/c he's making $8mil he WILL be back on the MLB roster (barring injury).

Chipper starting at 3rd tinight

Well BAP and others (myself included) finally got the shakeup move we wanted but wow. Of all the moves I thought the Phils might make with Myers, I never thought they would outright him to Allentown.

Pure conjecture but I can bet that both Dubee and Cholly did little in the way of supporting Myers continued stay with the club. In particular, I bet that Dubee was happy that the club finally set a message to Myers' regarding his stubbornness and poor preparation habits.

AWH - Agreed if it is as a starter. Still think the Phils might shift Myers to the pen if they realize that Gordon is likely done/need up grade the pen if they aren't able to make a move by the trading deadline.

ESPN article says Hamels is moving up Thursday to start. Moyer should go Friday on normal rest, and then Saturday we'll need the extra starter. We'll know if its Happ by Thursday or Friday I would guess.

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=3469774

Can't say I am disappointed by this move though at all. Myers is the single biggest reason why this team isn't 4 or 5 games up right now in the East. Personally, he is my least favorite Phillie and I have found it hard to root for him given his past actions/attitude for quite some time.

Possible explanation for Myers' odd home/road splits (3-3, 3.81 ERA at CNP;0-6, 8.18 on road):

He usually has a bad first inning and I wonder if it has to do with the way they have him warming up in the bullpen. Having to sit for half an inning while his team bats on the road could be throwing him out of whack.

I applaud this move. This is better, for Myers and the team, than a DL stint, I think.

I agree with BB that this isn't the last of Myers in all likelihood. I hope it's not. Like Gordon, his rehabilitation in mid-season may provide the Phils with some late season boosting. Not that I am going to bet on it.

---

For those talking about Howard's plate discipline, fangraphs collects data on what sort of pitches a player swings and makes contact with. It's no finer-grained than pitches that are in the zone and out of the zone but still interesting.

Here's the percent of pitches outside the zone that Howard's swung at in the last three years (I'll round to 1 decimal):

2006: 25.6% (of 2863 pitches)
2007: 25.8% (of 2723 pitches)
2008: 24.1% (of 1429 pitches)

Here's the percent of those pitches out of the zone he's made contact with:

2006: 35.2%
2007: 39.2%
2008: 37.6%

Not a lot of change from the last two years in this regard. He's swinging at fewer pitches outside the zone and making slightly less contact (less than 2% less from last year, but more than 2% from his big year.)

The biggest change Howard has seen is actually the percent of strikes he swings at:

2006: 70.2%
2007: 70.0%
2008: 74.1%

Here's his %-contact with those pitches (this one is interesting):

2006: 81.1%
2007: 76.5%
2008: 73.2%

To me, those last two statistics are most interesting. He's swinging at more strikes and making contact with a drastically smaller percent of them than he did in the last 2 years. A 4% increase in the total number of strikes he's swinging at along with an 8% decrease in the number he makes contact with -- that's a big difference.

His %-contact with all pitches is only down 3% from 2006, but that's only because he's swinging at roughly the same number of balls and making contact with a larger percentage of them.

We see Howard swing at a lot of junk. But he's been doing that for three years and is actually swinging at fewer pitches out of the zone this year than 2006. The pitches in the zone that he can't handle, and his rapid decline in the last 3 years at doing so, that seems to be more worrisome.

BB, if Myers replacement pitches adequately (Happ?) and keeps them in games, and they WIN a majority of those games, the Phillies will be hard pressed to upset the apple cart - especially if the team returns to its' winning ways.

Myers, if he recovers at LV, and puts up 4-6 good starts by mid-July, IMO is more likely to get dealt with prospects for a pitcher they feel is an upgrade.

That's my wild prediction and I'm stickin' to it.

I thought Larry was hurt and headed for the DL; damn those lying Braves!

AWH - No matter how well his replacement pitches, if Myers figures out his delivery and puts up good numbers in the next few weeks the Phils are going to give him a start in his replacement's place.

They have too much invested in Myers to not give him a start if he shows progress in AAA. And his value is so low at this point.

Wouldn't be a bad dilemma to have, though.

What happens if Myers' replacement outpitches Eaton? Then Myers puts it together in AAA? Too ideal to actually happen, but do you keep the replacement on the staff?

Wowza! With all the sitting-on-the-hands they've done this year, I did not see such a bold move coming.

I was looking forward to seeing Jamie on Saturday; now it looks like it will be The New Guy. It's kind of exciting! And a little scary...

If only this would somehow help the offense. Kill one, scare the rest, perhaps?

Sophist, so you think there is zero possibility that Myers could get traded?

No. I just think it's not as likely, at least in the next 1-2 months.

If he figures out his delivery and pitches well, he'll be starting again. At that point, however, you may be right: he could be more valuable packaged as a relief pitcher to a team in need so the Phils can get a #1 or #2 pitcher in return.

I just don't see such a trade as being all that likely (because of Myers' value as a starter and his relatively low value, currently, as trade bait; and because the Phils don't have many other pieces.)

It's not impossible, however. It may be a best case scenario, though. Maybe a small second to a trade for Cook or CC (which is, as I said, unlikely.)

Sorry, that last paragraph came out wrong. I meant to say that my scenario (in which Myers returns well and comes back as this team's second best pitcher) is the second best case to a trade for CC or Cook.

In any case, it's a ways off for Brett Myers.

Wow! Gotta give the Phils credit for this move. I figured they'd do nothing.

Sophist: great post. So, it appears that it isn't a matter of plate discipline in the strictest sense with Howard.

But what's strange is that swinging at a higher percentage of strikes, one would think, in general would be a good thing - not a reason for his poorer performance.

And what might account for his making contact with a lower percentage of the strikes he swings at? It seems unlikely that the shift would cause that, unless he's trying to pull the ball more because of the shift out of spite, and so he's missing more.

Looks like despite all the attempts at explanations (the shift, swinging more wildly, bad plate discipline, etc.) the dude's just in a slump, and missing more of the pitches he should be swinging at. Weird.

So, what do you do if you are Pat Gillick and Benson out-pitches Myers down on the farm over the next 4-5 starts?

Interesting.

Personally I think that both of those guys will still pitch rather horribly down there for the next 3-4 weeks making a deadline additon of a starting pitcher priority #1. But it will certainly be worth watching.

Wow...this is shocking to me, especially in light of the lack of demotion for Eaton last year in a similar situation. I'm holding out hope for a Cook trade.

Will someone please admit that I was wrong all along. Go check the archives but I was posting after opening day that something was wrong with Myers as evidenced by his loss of velocity

flipper, earlier this year, Howard claimed that he was having trouble seeing the ball. I haven't heard about it as much in the last few months though.

In any case, one explanation for his problems doesn't rule out others. The shift could also be an explanation for his woes -- it seems like it is. They could be separately hurting him. The shift could also, in part, explain his contact problems. He may be trying to make a certain kind of contact with strikes and therefore missing them.

I have no idea. I just thought these numbers were interesting.

I bet no other AAA has 2 starters making a combined $15 million this year like the Iron Pigs.

I'll give credit to Brett for having a good attitude and accepting the demotion but he needs to get his head on straight to contribute anywhere. It'll be interesting to see if he makes it back and is effective.

http://myteamrivals.typepad.com/phightin_phils_phorum

good for you, Dude. Your mother must be proud.

I think Mitch Williams has been saying this for some time as well.

Happ pitched Saturday night so his normal turn would be Thursday.

I don't live in the PHI are anymore, but I do recall hearing Williams saying things about Myers head pull in his delivery.

Nothing like a start at CBP against the Mets with a saturday night crowd to welcome you back to the ML, Mr. Happ.

Incredibly smart move.

And by smart, I mean the exact opposite.

The rotation should stay the way it is... and Myers road start should be taken by Happ or fill in the blank.

Stupid.

Stupid.

Stupid.

I want to stress something that didn't come through in the header as it should have. More than sending a message or anything like that, it's about getting help for a pitcher who wasn't going to fix it on the fly. It's getting late and they couldn't afford to let it go on. There was no consistency between starts. That's why he's in Allentown.

Since Happ is already on the 40-man and they have yet to announce him as the replacement, it seems more like their man will come from elsewhere in the system (Carrasco?) or outside the Phils. Or am I misreading the situation?

Happ should start in Atlanta Thursday on normal rest.

Hamels should start on Friday, at HOME against the Mets. You now are taking Hamels out of the Mets series completely.

Moyer, who is coming off an outing where he threw 117 pitches in the Texas heat, could use that extra day off and pitch Saturday.

What the hell are these people thinking? So, are you going to give Happ a week off, before he pitches on Saturday? He can't pitch Thursday at LV. And, you bring him up, against the EXACT same franchise in the same ballpark on the same day of the week (Saturday), that you did last year? How about bringing him up, and letting him get his feet wet in a big ballpark, against a team that struggles against lefties (Atl)?

Or maybe they bring up some other scrub instead and let him get shelled on Saturday. Who knows what these people are thinking...

@dennyb -- good call... this makes the decision (to pitch the replacement on Saturday)... incredibly worse...

denny b. - not that I disagree (or that I think the definitive word on the scheduling is even out yet), but doesn't taking Hamels out of the Mets series bring Eaton into the Mets series?

I guess not. If Hamels pitches thursday, Eaton would just pitch game 3 of the Mets series instead of game 4.

>>flipper, earlier this year, Howard claimed that he was having trouble seeing the ball. I haven't heard about it as much in the last few months though.<<

Can you say "Lens Crafters"?


I have a feeling that something bigger is in the works. It would be simple to just name Happ the replacement on Thursday, it all lines up. They are buying time by moving up Cole to Thursday, Moyer to Friday. I'm hoping Saturday will be a pleasent suprise. I think Happ is part of a package deal. Good to see Brett took the assignment like a man.

I agree, it is STUPID to move Hamels up to pitch on Thursday! We might as well just chalk Friday night up to the Muts with Santana on the hill. Management is so damn inept! Fools! They deserve nothing but blame!

I'm surprised the Phils didn't do this last year with Eaton.

For those not listening to the radio broadcast, Manuel just said "it's got to be sometime tomorrow" when asked when they will announce what they plan to do with the rotation from here on out.

I think the Eaton situation is different from Myers. Eaton has never been this team's opening day SP.

Kotsay is back for the Braves as well.

So how does the rest of this season play out for Myers? My prediction: he pitches 3 or 4 outings for the Iron Pigs A and completely dominates Triple A hitting. In the meantime, Happ is called up to the show & pitches pretty well, to the shock of everyone in the Phillies' organization and the local media -- but not to the handful of us on Beerleaguer who would be surprised if he DOESN'T pitch well.

Despite Happ's success, Myers is nonetheless called up to take his place sometime in late July. In his first outing back, he gets pounded for 6 runs in 4 innings.

I don't get why Howard and Pat are flipped back again.

Brett has the golden opportunity to go down to Triple A and figure things out and come back and pitch well, he'll be a friggin' hero then instead of the goat.

"There's satisfaction in this, seeing a player with his abrasive swagger get knocked down a peg or two."

A-yup.

The Phillies, however, also as noted, are one bizarre organization. All you need to evidence that is their 'solutions' involving Myers in the past two seasons. That's not just a slap in the face, it's a punch in the gut. I'm not saying Myers doesn't deserve it, but other players and people around baseball will notice what the Phillies did and raise an eyebrow. Or two.

Mark me down as disappointed if Kendrick stinks it up here.

The Braves described Kendrick as having been "Awesome" for the Phillies this season.

You can mark me down as possibly the only person who is not awestruck.

I hate this lineup. I'm tired of looking at it. The Jenkins/Feliz/Ruiz combo makes me sick.

bap, I disagree. Myers isn't dominating anyone with the slop he was serving up to hitters this year.

The Phillies chief head case is not going to flip the switch and turnit on. It's going to take a while for him to work things out - if he ever does.

I stand by my prediction. He won't turn it around fast enough to make it back this season.

I believe he's toooooooooo farrrrrrrrrr gone.

vegas - they are facing a RHP.

Braves announcers (not the sharpest tools, and I mean tools), that is.

Two straight hits that the freaking shift made into outs. I hate the shift.

Chalk up another out to the Howard shift.

Yeah, the shift definitely cost him there. I thought Utley's ball had a chance to get through as well. He just didn't hit it hard enough.

And I'll add the caveat that I hope for the Phillies' sake that Myers proves me wrong.

What MB said. We're giving up 3 innings this game.

Rumor has it Feliz and Myers are being traded into retirement for Mike Schmitt and Steve Carlton... rumor has it Howard may be included for Kruk as well....


AWH - He has had some good starts this year, however, for a guy who's too far gone. He had great starts against CIN, FLA, SF, HOU, and CHC.

Granted, he's been awful otherwise. These starts, and word that he's had problems with mechanics all year, make me more hopeful than you.

AWH: I think that we have seen the last of the "old" Myers. He may be back, but I don't ever think he will be the same. Something about this whole situation smells to me. It just seems odd. It is like Ankiel or Willis. Ankiel is a hitter, and Willis may be soon. Myers may want to start taking a whole lot more BP.

The Braves announcers are incredibly ignorant: "Kyle Kendrick may really be their ace this season. If not for Hamels, he would be their ace." (If that were the truth, I would be writhing on the ground in pain).

Kendrick could have had the lead runner on that bunt. Was the riskier play, obviously, but Blanco was a good distance from second. Not a great bunt.

Cipper: I would go So Taguchi straight up for Charlie Hayes (right now).

Ok, now I like the shift.

"I have a feeling that something bigger is in the works"

With this organization? The same group that promoted TJ Bohn TWICE this year, when he was hitting under .170?

They will probably recall "Real Deal" or John Ennis instead. That is a typical Phils move.

Gillick calling Happ a "decent option"? Who would be better Pat? Les Walrond? JD Durbin? Fabio Castro? Joe Savery? You have the IL strikeout leader, pitching great for the past month, and that guy is just "decent"? How about just giving the kid a shot for a month or so, and see how he does?

And about Eaton....the one team he has great stats against is the Mets. I am actually looking forward to him pitching against them.

I admit I am way, way, way late on this observation . . . but when you only see the games on tv, you really don't get much of a perspective on how extreme the Howard shift really is. I knew the 2nd baseman played halfway down the line & into the OF. But I hadn't realized that the SS played behind 2nd & the 3rd baseman at SS.

The question I found myself asking when I saw this in-person was: after seeing this shift for a year and a half to two years, how can a guy with Ryan Howard's talent NOT be able to beat a defensive alignment where the entire area between third & short is wide open? How about just trying to put the ball in play by going the opposite way? Or how about learning to lay down a bunt? All you have to do is put it in play on the third base side & it's a certain hit. If you do that 4 or 5 times, the shift will be a thing of the past.

After seeing the shift in real life, I'm incredulous that, 2 years later, Howard is finding himself more and more flustered by it. This is a gimmicky alignment that any Double A hitter would figure out in about 2 weeks.

The Shift! Works for the Phils too.

BAP - I find it odd too, but I don't know a lot about hitting. You'd think he'd just practice a swinging bunt to third all day until he could do it 70% of the time against the shift.

Stupid stpid stupid ..... NEVER hang a breaking ball to the best RH hitter in the lineup.

Pat. Felt that one coming. He hammered every other pitch he touched foul.

Where's game chat today?

BAP: I agree with everything that you said about beating the shift. I would blame Howard if there were any other hitters that have the shift used against them that were doing that. Howard's unwillingness or inability to do that is certainly not limited to him.

Burrell!!! He's got the All-Star vote jones.

Why isn't the coaching staff helping Howard with this, since he obviously can't do it on his own?

What makes you think they aren't, GoPhilsGo?

I can't watch the game right now, but I see that the Burrell 4th/Howard 5th lineup didn't last past the Texas series. Really, what's so wrong with

Rollins
Victorino
Utley
Burrell
Howard
Feliz
Jenkins
Ruiz
Kendrick

?

I was about to comment that the black hole struck again, and then Ruiz defied me.

There you go Ruiz. Once he figures out that the results improve when he doesn't swing the bat, he'll be fine.

Based on the observation that he continues to make the same mistakes over and over and still can't figure out how to beat the shift and how not to swing at some of the garbage he swings at. Perhaps he isn't capable, but I hope that isn't the case

question. i'm assuming they discussed this with him and knew he would take the assignment. But I'm wondering what happens when a player doesn't? Does that mean they have to trade him?

No hitter beats the shift. When have you ever seen any hitter consistently beat the shift by going away from it? I personally have never seen it. I've seen a few guys throw down a bunt once or twice, but never a concerted effort. It just doesn't happen, and would probably totally throw off their swing. I think it is a situation where if you give into the shift, then you are doing exactly what the other team wants you to do. If Ryan Howard bunts, the other team is happy.

Look, the other teams are essentially begging Howard to try to hit it in the hole. They want to take his strength away. The thinking is an occasional single is much better than a jack.

Wow! I'm at a public library (No home internet in Houston)and I just read the news about Myers. It's sad that I feel happy about this move. Myers has been a real enigma to me, a pitcher with lots of promise, but failing to deliver. I hope he gets his iron head straight as an Iron Pig. Check you all out tomorrow. This library is about to close!

Oh and what's the deal with Chipper? Isn't he supposed to be on the DL?

I'm guessing Chipper is taking the risk since this series gives them an opportunity to gain ground in the NL East and the Braves' record is so pedestrian without him in the lineup. My guess is he doesn't start every game of the series.

curt: exactly. In fact, I don't understand why people are always calling for him to beat the shift. No power hitter (emphasis added!!!) does that. None. Not a few, not some, none. Obviously, the Braves think that it is just fine for Mark Texieria to hit it right into the shift if he doesn't hit a HR.

Are the Phils supposed to set some kind of trend here? Whatever you think about Cholly Manual, at least give Bobby Cox some credit. If Bobby is not having Texieria do it, then it is probably not a good idea.

Kendrick and those shut down innings. When the Phils score does he ever give up a run in the next inning?

The worst thing about a Brave series is listening to Cox say "Come on _____" three times each AB, to every one of his hitters.

Vic!!! Demonstrating how you beat the shift. You hit it where the shift isn't.

Great to be back to the NL East.

Maybe it is the NL. This is batting practice.

Maybe its Cholly Morton?

Take that shift!!

And yes, it is Charlie Morton. This guy could make the Padres seem like the 89 A's.

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