By FRANK WARD
This is far from an April Fool’s joke: Brett Myers will take the mound as the team ace at Citizens Bank Park on Opening Day in two weeks. This will not be the first time he does so, but it will be his first in an Astros uniform.
Astros manager Brad Mills gave Myers the nod as his ace today. All he has to do is beat Doc Halladay to continue his effort to show up Phils management for letting him walk a year ago.
That isn’t as far fetched as it seems. While the Phils will be favored and Halladay is coming off a Cy Young Award season, the fact is that Myers was one of the best throwers in the NL after the All-Star break last year.
The man who once fouled off a boatload of CC Sabathia fastballs went 14-8 with a 3.14 ERA last year. In 15 starts from July 4 to September 19, Myers gave up more than two earned runs just twice.
In his only start against the Phillies he garnered a 3-2 win in which he allowed just two runs on seven hits in as many innings. While he faced Blanton that day, the fact is that Blanton put up a Docesque line of one run on six hits in seven innings. The bullpen handed Myers the win.
Having said all that, we still expect Doc to start the season with a memorable outing, much as he did last season in Washington and the postseason against the Reds last year.