Myers, the Phillies Opening Day starter, threw more fastballs and challenged the Cubs hitters. He also lasted eight innings and earned the victory in a 5-3 win at Citizens Bank Park. It was Myers' first win as a starting pitcher since September 20, 2006, also against the Cubs.
"I definitely felt a lot more aggressive," said Myers, who allowed three runs (all on solo homers) and five hits, struck out five and didn't walk a batter. "I felt like I threw pitches with conviction instead of lollipopping them up there."
After his previous start last Sunday in Cincinnati, Myers wondered if he was tipping his pitches. Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee dispelled that notion, telling Myers that he wasn't throwing enough fastballs.
Myers challenged the Cubs with his fastball, even after serving up back-to-back two-out homers to Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez in the first inning. He allowed a solo shot by Alfonso Soriano in the fifth.
But Myers threw 115 pitches, 78 strikes, and looked more like the ace right-hander the Phillies expect him to be.
"I had a good cutter," Myers said. "The rest of the stuff followed. When I have a good cutter, everything else follows."
Meanwhile, Brad Lidge made his first appearance at Citizens Bank Park a memorable one. Lidge, who began the season on the disabled list but was activated last Saturday during a road trip in Cincinnati, entered in the ninth inning Friday night and recorded a save in a 5-3 victory over the Cubs in the opener of a nine-game homestand for the Phillies. Lidge allowed a one-out double by Aramis Ramirez but escaped the inning without allowing a run. He hasn't allowed an earned run in four appearances (four innings) for the Phillies. "The more I pitch, the better I feel," said Lidge, who had arthroscopic knee surgery Feb. 25. "I think my command is starting to come around. I'm feeling good right now and feeling healthier."
Rollins Still Hurting
Jimmy Rollins ran in the outfield before batting practice Friday, but for the third straight day, his sprained left ankle hadn't improved enough for him to play in a game. Rollins, the reigning NL MVP, injured his ankle when he spun awkwardly into second base on a fake pickoff attempt Tuesday in New York. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said Rollins may miss the entire weekend series against the Cubs. "The big test is when he goes to run the bases or in the field when he's got to go to his left," Manuel said. "In the game, when the adrenaline is going, will he be able to make a play?" Fill-in SS Eric Bruntlett has struggled in Rollins' place, going 1-for-13 and committing two errors.
Burrell Keeps Hammerin' Away
Pat Burrell was among the major's hottest hitters during the second half of 2007, and with free agency looming after this season, he's off to a torrid start. Burrell went 2-for-4 with a two-run homer and three RBI Friday night against the Cubs, giving him 13 hits in his last 29 at-bats (.448). Burrell's hot streak has helped soften the blow from Rollins' injury. "When guys get hurt, especially MVP-caliber guys, you have a hard time winning," Burrell said. "It's up to everyone else to step up."