Thursday, August 21, 2008

Who Needs Brett Favre? We Got Brett Myers

Last night's game was extremely encouraging on many levels. First and most important, the Phils have taken the first two games from a bad team when they desperately need it. Second, Chris Coste seems to be getting his stroke back, and Greg Dobbs actually got a meaningful (HUGE) hit while starting with his two-run bomb in the 5th.

Add on top of that Chase getting two hits and looking more comfortable at the plate and Victorino notching two more hits, and it looks like the Phils may be getting something going, albeit against the worst team in the league. But the most encouraging thing was the continued dominance by Brett Myers. As the Inquirer's Todd Zolecki points out, Myers has done some pretty outstanding things since he was recalled from Triple A.

The former phenom has been showing exactly why he was considered such a huge prospect so many years ago. In his six starts since being an IronPig, Myers is 3-1 with a 1.94 ERA. Sure, two of those wins have come against the Nationals and the other against a terrible Pittsburgh team, but Brett also pitched well in a 3-1 loss to the Dodgers where he went 7 strong, giving up 3 runs on 5 hits with 8 strikeouts. Even in his two no decisions, he pitched pretty well. Sure, the first outing against the Mets he was erratic, but he only surrendered three runs in five innings. Then against St. Louis, he allowed just two over six.

Point is, Brett has been on point. Save for that first game back, his control has been masterful. In fact, no disrespect to Cole Hamels, but he's been the Phillies best starting pitcher since the All Star break. Not that Cole has been bad. In fact, quite the opposite. But he hasn't been as dominant as Brett. In fact, only three starters, since the break, have been better than Myers in the National League, as Zolecki points out, and those three are all pretty damn good names: CC Sabathia, Brandon Webb and Randy Johnson.

Last night, Brett was the star of the game. He pitched his third shutout of his career and first since 2004. That's a big deal with a bullpen that's been overworked and a team that has struggled to score runs. The Phillies brass kept saying if Brett could come back strong, he'd be better than anyone they could get. While that may or may not be true, getting the Brett of old has proven to be the Phils biggest (non)move of the year.

There's still a long way to go, but with the Mets losing Billy Wagner and the Phillies gaining a front of the rotation starter in Myers, a repeat of last year is not out of the question. As long as Myers can keep it up.

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