Monday, June 30, 2008

Taking a Beating

Two innings pitched. Five hits. Five runs. Four walks. Yet another home run surrendered.

That was Brett Myers' stat line Friday night. With the Phils really needing to turn the ship around, the offense gave Myers a 5-1 lead in the third. Brett couldn't even get an out in the inning, allowing Texas to put up four runs to tie the game, and the Phils eventually lost yet again.

Friday's outing brought the opening day starter's numbers to this: 3 wins, 9 losses, 115 hits, 101.2 innings pitched, 70 runs, 66 earned runs, a major league leading 24 home runs, 44 walks, 88 strikeouts, a sterling 5.84 ERA, 1.56 WHIP and .284 opponents batting average. Opposing batters are beating him around the same way he does his wife. What? Too soon?

Seriously though, when is enough enough? How can the Phillies continue to trot this disgrace of a pitcher out to the mound every fifth day? I understand the Phils have a shortage of starting arms in the system, but could it really get any worse than this? What harm is there in bringing up, say, a J.A. Happ, and promote the heralded Carlos Carrasco to AAA to get him more experience? Who knows, maybe Happ could even be this year's Kyle Kendrick. Maybe not, but it's worth a shot. And, for an even more novel idea, what about giving the kid Carrasco a shot. He may not be ready, but more and more organizations are giving kids a chance, and more and more are contributing. The Phils, on the other hand, continue to be behind the curve, which is why the likes of Chase Utley and Ryan Howard took so long to reach the majors.

All things considered, there is virtually no way another arm, any arm, could pitch worse than Myers has this year. Only the Reds Bronson Arroyo, Pittsburgh's Ian Snell, Florida's Mark Hendrickson and the Dodgers Brad Penny have a worse ERA for starting pitchers than Myers. And none of them have a worse winning percentage than Myers. Next to Brett, Adam Eaton has looked like Cy freaking Young. That's a major problem.

It's good to see Charlie Manuel at least contemplate Brett's job security, but finding "somebody to do his job first" can't possibly be this hard. At least finding someone to do his job better than him anyway. While it's not the ideal situation, calling up Happ appears to be the best option. The Phils don't have any tradable assets besides Victorino, and losing him would decimate the outfield. Leaving Myers in to straighten things out clearly isn't the answer. He's had more than enough time to answer the bell. Now's the time to call up Happ, hope he's this year's Kendrick, and stop the bleeding.

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