- 6-1 loss to the Florida Marlins
Before tonight, I had yet to watch Brett Myers pitch a whole game, and my fear was that I haven’t missed much. Even as he excelled last year, he exuded mediocrity. Knowing nothing of his arsenal, Myers seemed like a conglomeration of attributes ranging from banal to repulsive, from his bad facial hair to the despicable domestic violence incident that mars his past. I’ll be honest. I still don’t care for him. He’s a boring pitcher to watch, with little future as a winner or even an average pitcher, and he’s signed for a few more years. I suppose I may have missed out on some of his Swisher-esque goofy antics over the last year, but my instinct is that I’d find it tedious.
Myers pitched for the home team tonight, against the not-sterling Marlins, so I was ready to see where my perception met his reality. The reality fell firmly on the side of my perception. In the first inning, Myers walked a man, then beaned another with an 88-mph smoker, which later allowed a Marlin to jog home on a Hanley Ramirez nubber. An inning later, Myers gave up a homer to John Buck. By the time it was all done, after a miserable fifth inning of walks and errors and a triple, my imaginings of the Brett Myers experience seemed dully accurate. He throws the aforementioned mediocre heater, and chases that with heavy effort breaking pitches, by which I mean he seems to really urge his curves and sliders to break, like he was throwing a heavier than normal baseball. But the biggest problem for Myers is his margin of error, or I should its absence. A straight 88 mph fastball that moves out over the plate is what big league hitters call a John Buck home run.
Myers allowed six runs in his five innings of work. There were a few errors, a few more nubbers. Some easy runs, but runs nonetheless, and a lot of them.
On the offensive side, the Astros were unable to crack the mystery that is Ricky Nolasco and his low curveball, which they flailed out with great regularity. Beyond that particular pitch, it’s hard to say what it was about Nolasco’s dealings that limited the Astros so effectively. He has a normal enough fastball, a decent change-up, pretty good control, and yada yada. Lots of pop-ups from the Astros, a few rally-killing double plays. Astros baseball, I’m really basking in your blandness now.
- Chris Johnson hit well tonight, showing a solid swing that, were I to judge him on this game alone, would suggest that he was carrying through last year’s form.
- Last year, when I wrote about the Mariners in depth, they were one of the worst teams in baseball. The vibe around there was similar: that every lead was a loss, that the timing was always off and any success was wasted. And it was true, but this year the team has hovered around .500 and given fans up there some hope. Unless you’re the Pirates, it doesn’t have to take long to turn a team around. And even the Pirates are righting the ship!
- Wilton Lopez throws a lot harder than I thought. He’s working in the 93 range. This guy is more fun than just his trademark amazing control would suggest.
- I hope that Michael Bourn watches tape of Ichiro Suzuki at the plate. The two are stylistically related (if anyone could be considered similar to Ichiro’s unique game), from their raw speed to the easy move from swing into sprint down the first base line. The TV broadcast captured a few frames of Bourn in silhouette as he ran to first base on a drag bunt. He moved like he was charged up with lightning.