I'm sitting here grading my students' Documented Arguments, most of which offer claims so wildly unreasonable, they make Ryan's "Arizona is squeaky clean" argument seem tenable by comparison. (Sample: "Therefore, it is clear that the Supreme Court should ban cell phones from school classrooms." Seriously, the Supreme Court? Shouldn't we just skip that and go straight to a Constitutional amendment? And are there any other kind of classrooms but school classrooms? Two weeks, self. Two weeks until you don't have to do this shit anymore.) I'm also watching the Phillies game on MLB.tv Mosaic. (Aside: as loath as I am to do this, I have to give Connor credit. He told me to download it and said it was glorious. I did, and it is.)
So it's 7-2 Phillies in the top of the 7th. The Fightins have just scored three in the last half on a Ronnie Belliard error and a textbook opposite-way single by Chase Utley (his fourth hit of the game). Things are good.
Then Matt Smith comes in and does what he does best, walking two people in a row. But he gets a couple outs, and I'm not too worried -- we've got a five-run lead, for chrissakes. He walks another. Still no biggie -- bring in Geoff Geary, he'll save us. They do exactly that, and he does exactly that.
Then in the Phils half, I'm thoroughly enjoying giving this smartass sorority girl a B-, and I hear the following:
"Brett Myers warming up in the bullpen."
I dropped my pen in disbelief and maximized the Mosaic window. It was true.
So let me get this straight, Charlie Manuel: this is why we sent our ace to the bullpen? To cement four-run leads in the seventh inning? WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU?
This is the fourth relief appearance since your decision to send him to the 'pen. (see below for my opinion on the move, with I've so far refrained from posting, since Doyle offered a sensible opinion for once). Those appearances, in order, thanks to the wonderful people over at baseball-reference.com:
4/18, @WAS: pitched a scoreless eighth in a tie game. Phils lost 2-1 in extras. Rosario got the loss.
4/20, @CIN: pitched a scoreless eighth in a 1-0 game. Phils lost 2-1 in extras. Flash got the loss.
4/22, @CIN: allowed one run in the ninth of a six-run (!!!) game. Phils won 9-4.
Today, WAS: pitched a scoreless eighth in a game the Phillies are winning 9-3 in top 9.
(Aside: J-Roll just went cheesesteak again. Two-run job. That's #8. Khalil who?)
Now, I realize that no lead has been safe with this bullpen, but come the fuck on! You don't demote your ace to pitch the eighth inning! Especially not when your closer is a 39-year-old guy with a 1.90 WHIP and two blown saves already (both of which were downright pornographic), whose best career work by far was as a set-up man right before you signed him!
In other words, if you're going to send Myers to the pen, make him the fucking closer! He's a hard-throwing, high-strikeout guy who beats his wife in public and used to be a boxer! In other words, he's perfect!
I wasn't all that upset when Manuel made the move. Myers is our best proven starter (Hamels has future Cy Young-winner scrawled all over him, but has played less than a full season and is notoriously fragile), but the bullpen cost us three or four of the first ten games and was the primary reason why Charlie Manuel was about to be fired before the current four-game winning streak (game just went final). Both the Philadelphia Inquirer and I have long said that Myers makes sense as a potential closer (I said it a good year-and-a-half ago on Four Weeks, but can't find the link because that blog's practically defunct). Desperate times and all that shit. It certainly wasn't as crazy as Steve Phillips, et. al, made it sound.
But sending Myers down the first-base line so he can pitch with six-run leads is fucking ludicrous. I hate to agree with Phillips (ever), but make him the closer or send him back out there and demote Jon Leiber's fat me-first mercenary ass to the bullpen, or all the way to Reading for all I care, far enough away so nobody can hear him whine through a mouthful of bagels about how much he hates pitching in relief for 9 million dollars. Maybe he'll start taking pilot lessons and save us all some trouble.
The real fix to the bullpen is easy: make Geary and Alfonseca the primary middles, put Flash at setup, find a good song for Myers (may I suggest "Smack My Bitch Up"?) and bring him in to close. Yeah, you've still only got one bullpen lefty in Matt Smith -- and a horrible one at that -- but I don't see any solutions for that unless you want to demote Moyer or Hamels, which would be retarded and retardeder, respectively.
Of course, as long as the lineup's hitting like it is (five hits for Utley today, although Howard's mysterious timing issues continue), it won't matter who's pitching.