The first-place team in the National League East just sent their opening-day starter down to the minors. That’s right, the Philadelphia Phillies were forced to send right-hander Brett Myers to the AAA Lehigh Valley Ironpigs. Myers is 3-9 this season with a 5.84 ERA.
“We’re in a playoff race, and I have to be there to help my team,” Myers said. “This isn’t a question of what I want to do. It’s what I have to do. . . . Obviously, I need to get my head in the right spot.
“I wasn’t prepared to become a starter because my heart and my mind-set were still in the bullpen. That’s my fault.”
Myers’ problems are all mental, which is frustrating for Philadelphia fans. He has a blazing fastball augmented by a devastating 12-6 curveball that is beautiful to watch when he’s focused. But if he gives up a home run at any point in the game, just get him out of there, he’s mental toast.
The Phillies have several options to choose from in replacing Myers in the rotation, none of which are thrilling. The could go with Chad Durbin from their bullpen or pick from a group from their farm system: triple-A lefthanders J.A. Happ or Brian Mazone or double-A righthander Carlos Carrasco.
If the Phillies, who have been dreadful as of late going 3-7 in their last 10, can hold on to first place and get Myers right, it will be like a trade deadline deal to bolster pitching and help them into the playoffs.
At that point, they can act like just making the playoffs is the endgame and thoroughly go in the tank.