Pregame: Myers needs to be in control

Batting practice just ended and the crowd is slowly filtering into the park for Game 2. It looks as if it will be a brisk, breezy early autumn night for baseball.

It definitely feels like October.

Obviously, CC Sabathia takes most of the headlines for tonight’s game, which is understandable. The guy is (probably) the best pitcher in the game right now. But be that as it is, the pitcher who likely will have the greatest impact on tonight’s game won’t be Big CC… it will be Brett Myers.

It’s a given that Sabathia will pitch well. If the lefty isn’t just short of brilliant, he’ll be a rung slightly below. Myers, on the other hand, has been the proverbial Jekyll and Hyde this season. When the Phils’ righty isn’t mowing them down with rows of goose eggs, he’s been just dreadfully awful. Just take a look at his season splits: before the All-Star Break and his exile to the minors – bad. After that – good.

But there are a few blips on the screen for Myers and whether or not they prove to be an anomaly or an indicator of something bigger will be determined tonight. After beating the Brewers with a two-hit complete game in which he threw just 95 pitches on three-days rest on Sept. 14, Myers was lit up like a pinball machine in his last two starts of the season.

Against the Marlins on Sept. 19 Myers was roughed up for 10 runs in four innings in a 14-8 loss. He followed that one up by giving up six runs in 4 1/3 innings against the Braves on Sept. 24.

“I think the first two innings are important for Brett,” manager Charlie Manuel said. “I think if he gets his rhythm down and he’s moving his fastball, if he can locate his fastball in and out, then he should be able to handle his breaking stuff.”

But Myers will need both his fastball and curve to be successful, Manuel says.

“His two big pitches have to work for him. His breaking stuff has to be on the outside part of the plate to these right-handers,” Manuel said. “If his command is good, then he has a chance to pitch a good game.”

There is some concern, of course. Whether Myers; two bad outings to end the season were simply a matter of leftover fatigue from pitching on short rest or merely a matter of improper mechanics has not yet been determined.

We’ll learn about that tonight.

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