An interesting moment in Jim Salisbury’s game story last night came when Brett Myers conceded that the pain in his hip affected his location last night. “I think it did tonight,” he said.
Myers has been something of a mystery all season—okay, he’s been something of a mystery for most of his career—because he arrived at spring training in great shape, super motivated to have a big season and prove to the team that he was worth another contract. Rich Dubee said that Myers had not totally committed to starting at the beginning of last season, after enjoying his time in the bullpen; that lack of dedication hurt him early in 2008, Dubee believed.
This year, Myers has been earnestly trying to do well in the rotation. Dubee and Manuel expected him to have a big season (when Manuel named him the opening night starter in place of an injured Cole Hamels, the manager grinned like a proud papa, clearly happy to reward Myers for renewed commitment and better conditioning). But Myers' velocity and location have been mysteriously problematic. Even when he showed recent improvement, he allowed way too many home runs. It is premature to conclude that Myers’ hip problem explains his issues, but it will be interesting to see how this unfolds as he undergoes an MRI and awaits the results. We’re always seeking explanations for changes in performance, whether for the better or worse, and we might have been given a clue about this particular player.