When Charlie Morton goes six innings, he is pretty damn tough. When he doesn’t, it’s pretty damn rough to watch.
Morton went only four innings last night and was knocked around by the Reds.
The right hander has us concerned. After an April that saw him put up a respectable 2.65ERA over three starts (and put questions about his health on the back burner), Morton has sent his ERA well over 5 after six May starts.
It is a head-scratcher. Morton doesn’t appear confident. Perhaps it’s due to the fact that his pitches lack movement, many finding middle-middle on this night. “Electric Stuff” has only put up five punchouts in his last 23 innings (four starts) and got just four groundouts last night.
It is also a head-scratcher for us that Jordy Mercer was promoted from Indianapolis merely to sit the bench. Mercer got an at-bat in the eighth inning, and lasted two pitches against the strong stuff of Homer Bailey. Here is the video.
Bailey had a lifetime 1.94 ERA over seven starts against the Bucs. He lowered that after his complete-game, four-hit night. Homer also had two ugly hits and drove in a run.
By the end of this game, the body language of the Bucs was awful. Bailey obviously has the Bucs’ number. The days of Morton doing the same to the Reds seems like decades ago, after pitching ten innings over two starts this month and giving up eight earned runs.
It’s cool that the Pirates have received solid starting pitching this season, but the team must get Morton figured out. He has the ability to be strong in the back of the rotation, as we’ve seen periodically over his career.
Here’s hoping Morton can flip the switch soon.
—Again, hat tip to @PHook4000 who tweeted the hash tag #solarstuff.