Pittsburgh Pirate Neil Walker at Great American Ballpark. Courtesy of E$McElhone

So Where is Neal Huntington?

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The Pittsburgh Pirates are starting to fade in a stretch of 20 games in 20 days.  The Pirates won’t get a day off until June 3rd.  It feels like all of the luck that had gone their way early in the season, is starting to even out.  The curious thing for me is this tidbit from today’s PG story:

Huntington, who did not make the trip to Cincinnati and has been away from the major-league team for most of the past 18 days, was not available for comment. No other representative from the baseball operations front office made the trip, either, in a rarity.

That is odd to me.  Why isn’t the General Manager near the team he put together during one of the teams most difficult stretches?  Is it draft meetings?  Is it talent evaluation cross checking?  We will dig into that, but a clear statement should be made on Charlie Morton.

Sending Morton to AAA doesn’t do us any good.  He knows how to get AAA hitters out. 

Morton is forecasted to lose 28 games.  I expect to see him pitch against the Cubs and should that not go well, he will be put on the DL.   It’s being reported he won’t be used from the bullpen, because he is a starter.  Ok, we get that, but as RTJR said, he needs to learn to get out major league hitters.  That won’t happen on the DL or in AAA.  If he truly is hurting, it’s a freaking joke they would let him pitch.   And from my untrained eye, it looks like he is hurting, especially from his mannerisms on the mound, but if the GM isn’t around John Russell is going to keep sending him out there.

As a fan, I would appreciate the team taking care of their most talented starting pitcher.  Something is wrong.  Figure it out. 

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GREAT AMERICAN BALLPARK.  Charlie Morton’s 2-2 pitch was way out of the zone.  His next 3-2 pitch was out of the zone and Orlando Cabrera chased it fouling it off.  He didn’t chase the next one and the leadoff hitter Cabrera was on base with a walk.  Away, away, away.  It never ends.  So on a 1-0 to Cairo, he threw a ball outside and with Neil Walker cheating toward second base, the ball easily made it through the infield. 

He started Phillips way outside with a curveball.  I headed to my yard and listened on the outside radio.  Look, I love baseball, but if you aren’t going to throw anything close to a ball inside, hitters are much too comfortable. 

But much like a train wreck, I couldn’t resist watching the Tivo at 5am this morning.  With a 1-2 count on Phillips Morton balked.  His next pitch was so far outside Jaramillo had to dive to stop it.  Morton drove the count to 3-2 with a curve away.  By the time Johnny Cueto made the last out, fittingly enough by chasing a pitch way outside to groundout to Clement, they had scored four runs.

The Reds weren’t chasing Morton.  They were sitting dead red. 

The belt high pitches in the first inning to Scott Rolen and Jay Bruce were what ball players dream about, especially major league hitters.  The game was officially over after those homeruns.  The Pirates offense struggles to score three runs per game.  Surely Morton knows that, and the Bucs lineup seem to know that as well.  It’s as if the team takes the appearance of an animal with a broken spirit when teams have a big inning. 

The Pirates are reporting Morton has arm fatigue now.  I know Morton has us puzzled, but every Pirates fan wants the guy to succeed.  If he’s dinged up, get him fixed.  Jaramillo seemed like a great guy to catch Morton as he did for the second straight game.  He blocked all of those pitches away.  He issued pep talks on the mound and in the dugout.

By the third inning, it was 7-0 Reds and time for Jeff Karstens.  Unbelievably, Karstens just pitched and retired the Reds order 1-2-3.  Hells bells.

Heh, how about Ronny Cedeno becoming an on base machine?  That’s what I am talking about!

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Tags: Charlie Morton Jay Bruce Neal Huntington Pittsburgh Pirates Scott Rolen

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