We were sitting in the press box yesterday when a fellow reporter leaned over to me. Brett Myers was in the midst of pitching his seventh scoreless inning. In the second row of the press box sat us Philadelphia writers. Below us, in the first row, sat the Washington, D.C. contingent of media.
The reporter gestured to them and said something to the effect of this:
"You know," he said. "Right now we are all writing about how Brett Myers beat a team that has scored just one run in its last three games. And they are all writing about how their team couldn't even beat Brett Myers."
It's all about perspective, and I think it's important to keep some when looking at this most recent start by Myers. Certainly, there was some cause for hope. In his first two games back from the minors, he has allowed four runs in 12 innings. He hasn't allowed a home run. Yesterday, he commanded his fastball a lot better. He looked crisper, sharper, more aggressive.
All that is good.
But. . .
We've seen this before from Myers. Don't forget that he was pretty close to dominant in two or three starts this season.
On April 17 against Houston he allowed one run on five hits and struck out eight in seven innings.
On May 3 against the Giants he allowed two runs on six hits and struck out 10 in seven innings.
On May 30 against the Marlins, he allowed three runs on six hits and struck out 11 in eight innings. And he wasn't any more dominant than he was on June 4, when he allowed one run on one hit and struck out eight against the Reds.
We've seen this before from Myers. Doing it over and over and over again has been the problem.
Don't get me wrong: last night's start was important. The way Charlie Manuel was talking before the game, a horrendous outing might have led him to insert J.A. Happ into the rotation the next time around. Now, at least, Myers gets some grace. But Sunday's outing is a big one.
The Phillies have now scored three or fewer runs in 40 games this season. Last night was just the seventh time they've won one of those games. They did so thanks to a two-run home run by Chase Utley in the third inning.
Utley did it how he always does: smooth and steady.
I know there's been a lot of chirping about a potential Ron Mahay trade. But everything I've heard indicates there is no deal in place between the two teams. And they are not close to one, either. That could change in a hurry. But there are other options out there besides Mahay. ESPN.com was floating that the Royals were looking for Jason Donald in exchange for Mahay. At first glance, that strikes me as a pretty hefty sum to pay for a 37-year-old reliever who already has a ton of mileage on his arm this season (54 innings). Don't get me wrong, Mahay's numbers have been dynamite. Righties are only hitting .228 against him, let alone his .209 BAA against lefties. But Donald appears to be a guy who a number of teams in the league are developing a high opinion of. And even if his future isn't here, is there a chance he could, at some point, be used to nab someone of greater significance than Ron Mahay?
It's a trick time of year, for sure.
Tom Gordon is throwing off the mound. Still too early to tell when he might be back, but I'd be surprised if it is before mid-August.