Morton, Pirates Continue Fish Fry


The Pirates love to play the Florida Marlins.  They jumped out to a 7-0 lead and rode the sparkling pitching of Charlie Morton , who allowed only one ball to be hit hard in his six innings pitched.  The Pirates held on to win 7-4 and push their record against Florida to 4-0 and 14-8 against the NL East. 

The Bucs grabbed another early lead at Landshark Stadium as Brandon Moss went yard in the top of the first inning. (Cutch just missed leading off the game with a jack that was grabbed at the wall in left field.)

Also in the first, 3b Andy Laroche walked and Ramon Vazquez followed with his best cut of the year dumping the ball in the outfield seats to give Morton a 3-0 lead.

Morton had the heater running inside on the righties. The fastball was diving, boring in on the hitters.  It was fun to see. He was agressive all night, highlighted by when he went right at Ramriez for a strikeout.  While thunder and lightning crashed all around Morton, he quickly retired the first six fish

He continued to mix speeds well thru five. Filthy. Still nasty in sixth when he jumped out zero and two, but then lost the leadoff batter. Walk.  Another walk followed. Kerrigan came out to preach the gospel as Joel Hanrahan warmed in the soggy bullpen.

Morton would get out of it by staying agressive.  He got white hot Hanley Ramirez (24 rbi over last ten games) to pop out to short left on a good curveball. After two offspeed pitches and two pickoff attempts Morton got Cantu for the last out-blisterring his Louisville slugger as he jammed him with a 94 mph fastball.

Morton threw 91 pitches in his six innings. He allowed only one hit, walked four and struck out four. He threw more changeups and nobody centered on Morton. That’s tough when a team leans on the power like the Marlins do. His movement had the Marlins bats off all night.

He relied on the four seamer, but mixed an even amount of changeups in the 83 mph range with a 90mph sinker.  He threw his curveball about ten percent of the time to round out his solid four pitch stuff.

The kid is the real deal.

Two quick outs from Hanrahan in the seventh followed as he hit the 94-96 range.  Then the trouble started as Ross doubled to deep right center that Cutch almost ran down as he slid before the track, perhaps misjuding his proximity to the wall.

He hung a slider to Baker that was ripped off the wall for an RBI,  breaking up the shutout. Gload ripped another slider for a pinch hit single into right center field to plate Baker and cut the lead to 7-2. A walk and a visit by Kerrigan followed before Bonifacio came to the plate. Ramirez stood in the on deck circle dreaming of another opportunity as John Grabow threw in the pen.

Bonifacio came to the plate and saw flames. (In case you wondered what Kerrigan told him during the visit) 94mph first pitch strike, 96mph second pitch strike, 97mph upstairs, 86 mph slider fouled off (barely), 86 mph slider fouled off (barely), and then a 97mph low fastball for the strikeout as Bonifacio stared at the home plate umpire Mark Carlson in disbelief.

Hanrahan threw 23 four seamers and five of those sliders that were drilled.  His slider just didn’t have the movement on it he needed last night.  He threw 29 pitches in his one inning of work, 17 were strikes.  What I enjoyed was he only got one pitch up in the zone.

Grabow was lights out against the heart of the Fish order in the eighth.  He threw 11 pitches, mixing in his two and four seamer with his slider and change up for eight strikes.

Jeff Karstens had a 2.70 era out of the bullpen in eight appearances before last night. It won’t stay there as this was his worst outing since moving to the pen.

After Ross crushed another double to left center, Baker hit a two run shot into the right field seats on a 1-1, 80mph changeup that stayed straight and hung just a little. That made it 7-4 Pirates.

Matt Capps began throwing in the pen.  Karstens settled down and got a groundball and a strikeout to send the Florida faithful (church services are larger-I don’t buy the attendance figure of 16,000) to the nightclubs.

Swab the Web:

Jack Wilson said Burnett had movement like Morton, but DK does a nice job getting the real truth on the kid who can make the Nate trade ancient history in his story here.  

Fangraph’sNL Closer reporthas Matt Capps in the second category.  The ‘In Control’ portion even after the loss against the Mets.  One point that stands out when taking look at Capps this year is he  has struggled against the leadoff hitter.