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Rays

Myers Takes His Best Shot

The Tampa Tribune
Published:   |   Updated: May 18, 2013 at 05:51 PM
PHILADELPHIA -

RHP Brett Myers, who would have started Game 6 with a Rays victory Wednesday night, burned off some anxiety Tuesday by firing an assault rifle a nearby firearms range.

"It's just fun to best some caps," Myers told a Philadelphia Inquirer columnist.

Myers, the Phillies' No. 2 starter, picked up the hobby a couple of years ago from friend Dean Guelich a former Navy Seal. The pitcher is a regular at the Targetmaster Firearms Range in Delaware County.

Before Wednesday's resumption of Game 5, Myers, a 28-year-old Jacksonville native, said he wasn't concerned that being known as a gun guy would hurt his image.

"Most people like shooting guns, most people hunt," he said. "I do it in a controlled area. I don't walk around with a gun. It's always in the trunk or something like that, when I'm headed that way."

Myers is the only one of Philly's four starters who lost a game in the Series: 4-2 to James Shields in Game 2 last Thursday at Tropicana Field. He pretty pitched well, too, allowing only three earned runs in seven innings.

The Rays scored two runs on groundouts in the first inning of that game after a fielding error allowed Akinori Iwamura and B.J. Upton to advance extra bases to second and third.

Earlier Wednesday, Myers admitted he had mixed feelings about whether there would be a Game 6.

"I'm not selfish, but I'd like to pitch again," he said. "I feel like I'm the only guy that's got the loss in this series."

MADSON 'STARTS'

The Phillies have specific roles for the pitchers in their bullpens. Most notably, setup man Ryan Madson usually pitches the eighth inning when needed and Brad Lidge pitches the ninth when there's a save opportunity.

But with an opportunity to win the Series on Wednesday night, Manager Charlie Manuel opened with Madson when the Phillies took the field for the first time in the top of the seventh.

"He's got experience, and a couple of years ago he was a starter," Manuel said. "He also knows that we've just got three innings of baseball for our bullpen to pitch."

Lately, Madson has done some of the best pitching of his career. He was 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA during the postseason entering Wednesday, allowing only one earned run in 12 innings. He is 2-0 with a 1.08 ERA and since Aug. 28, yielding three earned runs in 261/3 innings.

Lidge, named The Sporting News' NL Reliever of the Year, entered Wednesday 0-0 with six saves and a 1.08 ERA in the postseason. He had converted all 47 of his 2008 save opportunities.Madson and Lidge are the two main reasons why the Phillies were 79-0 when leading after eight innings entering Wednesday night.

PRETTY SMART AFTER ALL

Manuel has been called a bumpkin, a redneck and all sorts of other derogatory things during his four years in Philadelphia. But after Wednesday, he will be called a World Series champion.

Asked how he felt about that, Manuel revealed that the criticism has sometimes been hurtful.

"I think it would be great for me to be called world champion here or in Buena Vista Va., where I grew up, or in Florida where I live, or in Japan where he played," he said.

"People are going to say a lot of things about you, and I've sometimes taken that personally. When somebody attacks me personally, that kind of upsets me because I wish they were standing in front of me. At the same time, that's part ... of being mentally tough."

Manuel is one of five active managers to have won a division championship in both leagues along with St. Louis' Tony La Russa, Chicago's Lou Piniella, Atlanta's Bobby Cox and the L.A. Dodgers' Joe Torre.

Manuel led the Phillies to the NL East title the past two years and the Cleveland Indians to the AL Central title in 2001. His managerial record is 574-484 (.543).

Tony Fabrizio

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