By all accounts Brett Myers pitched a strong seven innings for the Astros during yesterday's disappointing loss to the Philadelphia Phillies. Myers threw a quality start, pitching seven innings and allowing two earned runs on three hits, three walks and no strikeouts. However, a closer look at yesterday's box score, radar gun and pitch/FX data show that Myers' stuff may have regressed.
Myers threw 85 pitches during his seven innings and recorded one swing and miss the entire game on a 88 mph fastball to Ben Francisco during the seventh inning. Myers does not throw a dominant fastball, but the fact he could not get a one single swing and miss on a slider or curveball is troublesome. Last season, Myers recorded a swinging strike percentage of 8.6. Yesterday's total was 2.2 percent.
Both his slider and curveball were instrumental to his success in 2010. The pitch/FX data indicates that both pitches had approximately two inches less horizontal break. He threw 18 total sliders (one hit for a double) and 13 total curveballs (one hit) without one swing and miss. However, Myers had good command of his slider, 66 percent were strikes, but he could only get his curveball over 30 percent of the time.
Myers' fastball was noticeably below average during yesterday's start. He averaged 87.1 mph on a combination of fastballs, a number down more than two mph from last season (89.3 mph). Along with the velocity troubles, Myers struggled to locate the pitch, only getting them over for a strike at a 44 percent rate. Myers threw his changeup with more velocity during yesterday's game (82.9 mph) than his 2010 average (82.5 mph). The lack of differential between the pitches causes some concern.
It is one start in April, and some of my detractors might argue that he still provided a quality start, but anyone who witnessed the performance knows that Myers got away with some poor pitches. Citizens Bank Park or Minute Maid Park won't be so forgiving in the summer months.