Brett Myers returns to the mound for the first time in nearly three weeks, looking to put allegations of domestic assault behind him as the Philadelphia Phillies close out their three-game series Sunday against the San Francisco Giants.
Myers (5-4, 3.86 ERA) was arrested June 23 after allegedly hitting his wife Kim while the team was in Boston for a series with the Red Sox. After making his scheduled start the next day, Myers took a temporary leave of absence June 27, and following counseling with the Phillies’ Employee Assistance Program, believes he is ready to rejoin his team.
“I’ve been humbled greatly by this problem and I deeply regret any incident that happened,” Myers said Friday. “Over the last several weeks I learned a lot about myself and I have a lot more to learn.”
While the Phillies organization faced heavy criticism for letting Myers start after the incident, he has received the support of his teammates.
“The players are behind him,” catcher Mike Lieberthal said. “The players are staying out of (the off-the-field) side. Really, the only thing that matters is what Brett does for us on the field. We need him if we’re going to have any chance of making it to the playoffs.”
Myers is 0-3 with a 14.40 ERA in three starts against the Giants. He hasn’t faced them since 2004, when he gave up six runs in three innings, and none of the starts have lasted beyond the fourth inning.
The right-hander, though, is 3-1 in his last seven starts. In his June 24, Myers did not get a decision after giving up three runs and walking four in five innings of a 5-3 loss to the Red Sox. The 25-year-old was booed every time he took the mound, but Myers didn’t attribute it all to his off-the-field issues.
“I’ve just got to block it out,” he said. “You’re in an opposing city. You’re going to get booed either way.”
The road hasn’t been friendly to the rest of the Phillies (41-48) either. Saturday’s 14-6 win over the Giants was only their third win in the last 12 road games. Jimmy Rollins singled in the third and tripled in the seventh to become the youngest Phillies player to reach 1,000 hits (27 years, 230 days) since Greg Luzinksi (27 years, 202 days) accomplished the feat in 1978, while Ryan Howard was 2-for-5 with a 460-foot, two-run homer off Brad Hennessey in the sixth inning to put the team up 9-5.
“That was a blast,” Rollins said. “When you hit it that far, everybody should still be mesmerized by it. That was a home run derby-type homer. There’s only a couple of guys who can hit it like that and they were both here today.”
The Giants (46-45) have dropped seven of their last eight.
The team will hand the ball to Matt Cain (6-6, 5.12), who is looking for his first win in nearly a month. Although Cain has not received a decision in either of his last two starts, and has not had a win since June 19, he is 5-1 with a 3.74 ERA over his last 10 starts and has held opponents to a .187 batting average. In his most recent start on July 6 against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Cain lasted only four innings, giving up three runs while walking three and hitting a batter in the 5-4 win.
The 21-year-old right-hander’s only start against the Phillies came on May 5, when he was tagged for four home runs and gave up six runs and nine hits in four innings. Howard hit two of the homers in that game, a solo shot and a two-run homer.