Myers saves bullpen, but continues to struggle

Myers saves bullpen, but continues to struggle

CLEVELAND -- Indians manager Terry Francona praised Brett Myers for saving the team's bullpen during Tuesday night's lopsided loss against the Yankees. In that regard, the veteran right-hander's emergency relief performance was indeed admirable.

Myers' performance, however, was shaky in terms of results. That has been the case for the bulk of the starter's appearances dating back to Spring Training, when he joined the team after signing a one-year contract over the winter.

Following Tuesday's 14-1 loss, in which Myers allowed seven runs over 5 1/3 innings, Francona said he felt the pitcher threw well at times. Francona was asked to clarify that thought prior to Wednesday's game against the Yankees.

"The one thing to remember is it's my job to always [think positive]," Francona said. "I mean, if I don't think positive, who the heck is? That's my job. I get that. Shoot, I think we're going to win when it's 13-1 and we're down. I'm supposed to. And then when we're not winning, I'm supposed to try to take care of our guys and either protect our bullpen or do things like that.

"First of all, it was a difficult situation and I thought he really handled it well. That was appreciated. He completely saved our bullpen. He pitched fairly effectively for a couple innings and then they were in swing mode and he left some fastballs out over the plate that got whacked. So I think you can harp on that as a staff, or you can look to what he did well and try to capitalize on that. That's what we choose to do."

Through two appearances this season -- one start and Tuesday's relief outing -- Myers has posted a 12.19 ERA, allowing 14 runs on 18 hits (seven home runs) with four strikeouts and two walks in 10 1/3 innings. Including his six Cactus League games this spring, Myers has posted a 10.05 ERA (35 earned runs) with 54 hits (10 homers) allowed in 31 1/3 innings.

"He's not the power pitcher that maybe he was 10 years ago," Francona said, "so the wiggle room for when he doesn't locate his fastball isn't what it was. So, he has to pitch accordingly."

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.