Charlie Morton gets the start today. The Grapefruit league hasn’t been anything like Morton dreamed. The Pirates brass have repeatedly stated that Morton has the best stuff on the pitching staff. But Morton has yet to show that dazzling stuff in a spring training game.
So if it’s also true that Morton lacks self confidence, today would be a great time to start building that confidence. And what better team than the World Champion NY Yankees is there to do it against?
The Yankees have C.C. Sabathia on the bump. The big lefthander has been similar to the Pirates starters effectiveness this spring training. He has pitched 4.1 innings and allowed nine hits and five earned runs. The Pirates offense helped bump his ERA to over 10 with their performance against the Yankee star last week.
Morton could face a Yankees offense that has some big names sputtering with Derek Jeter hitting a pedestrian .294/.250/.250. Jeter had been battling the flu late last week. Also, A Rod has just three hits in 13 at bats this spring. However, Nick Johnson has been terror-ific with a .571/1.182/.455 line. Johnson has two homers, both of them off Morton mistakes.
When the Yanks and Bucs played this past Tuesday, the Pirates put up four runs on C.C. in the top of the first inning. The Bucs snapped C.C.’s neck a few times especially, Lastings Milledge’s RBI single and the three-run home run by Garrett Jones that landed in the right-field bleachers . Jones and Andy LaRoche knocked back-to-back hits off Sabathia in the third inning to drive in the Pirates’ fifth run. The Bucs scored six times in the last two innings to seal the 12-7 victory.
But tomorrow should be about redemption for Morton. Last week, the Yankees had their way with the right hander during his three innings of work. Morton allowed four hits and three runs as he threw 54 pitches, with 33 of those being strikes.
He walked two Yankee batters and put three K’s in the book. Thus far in spring training, Morton’s stats are not anywhere close to being where they should be. Especially when some experts view him as the key to that Pirates rotation, Bob Walk even said it today so you know it’s gospel.
Light a candle today for Morton. Also, light another one in hopes that Johnson gets on the bus for the trip south today. It would be a shame if a rematch didn’t occur.
We would like to see Morton avenge those two homers and start building confidence, strength, and frankly…anything for the season which is just about three weeks away.
I get it that spring training means very little, but really… a 6-4-2-4 triple play? In the ninth inning and obviously with nobody out? [NESN]
Jack Taschner needed a houdini act to keep his scoreless innings streak alive while Javier Lopez was effective once again. I bet it felt good against his ex-teammates.
Red Sox pitcher Dice-K had to shut down a bullpen session Saturday due to a stiff neck. Tim Wakefield loosen up those knuckles.
Vinnie Chulk will also pitch against the Yankees. Brad Lincoln will start in the ‘B’ game against the Orioles at Pirate City.
Keep an eye out for John Raynor and Neil Walker today.
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