Pittsburgh Pirates Wake-Up Call – Morton comes back down to earth
By Tyler Waite
Welcome to the Pittsburgh Pirates Wake-Up Call, a daily feature here at RumBunter.com. Every morning at 9 AM, one of us will give you our random thoughts on the goings-on around the Pirates’ organization, and we’ll throw out a few links to some good Pirates-related items from around the web.
Charlie Morton comes back down to earth
After back-to-back good starts from Charlie Morton in which he allowed just two runs across 13 innings of work, Morton came back down to earth on Tuesday night. He started off well, pitching three scoreless innings before allowing a run in each of the fourth and fifth innings, the second of which was unearned because of an error on Andrew McCutchen. The outing was still manageable, but the wheels came off for Morton in the sixth when he allowed three runs and was pulled after just 5 1/3 innings.
The last two outings gave us hope for Morton as potentially the fourth starter of a playoff rotation behind Gerrit Cole, Francisco Liriano, and A.J. Burnett. But we should not lose faith in him just yet. In a playoff game, hopefully Clint Hurdle only lets Morton last five innings. In that case, he could be an effective fourth starter.
The big inning was Morton’s downfall last night. He didn’t walk any batters, nor did he hit any batters in Tuesday’s action. He did allow eight hits, but maybe it’s partly a mental thing with Morton, in terms of lasting long into games. Luckily with a dominant bullpen behind him, he shouldn’t be too much of a worry if he pitches a game or two in the postseason.
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Jordy Mercer getting game action, does Kang need rest?
Jung Ho Kang got the night off last night, and the left side of the infield consisted of Aramis Ramirez and Jordy Mercer. We know that Hurdle is going to give Mercer a few spot starts down the stretch, but hopefully these starts are limited. There are arguably better options to man the fort at third and shortstop: Josh Harrison and Kang or Ramirez and Kang are the two best options. Neither Harrison nor Ramirez have been good defensively this season, but offense may need to be the focus from here on out. I also don’t buy the argument that Kang won’t be able to handle the workload of a full major league season without rest. After all, Kang hasn’t been a starter all season. He came off the bench in the beginning of the year, and he’s only appeared in 106 games. That’s 34 less games than a full KBO season, not including the playoffs. And with Kang not getting starter action in all of those games, Kang could be on pace for an equivalent workload to his KBO time. He’ll be needed as the games get more important, so hopefully he doesn’t get too much time off.
Around the net
CBS Sports has been unveiling its awards watch list this week. Kang is mentioned as a front-runner for the NL Rookie of the Year award, with his main competitor being Kris Bryant. Check that piece out here. And Clint Hurdle is mentioned as having an outside shot at the NL Manager of the Year award. Check that out here.
There’s also been this awesome GIF of the evolution of every baseball teams’ logo since the beginning of the MLB circulating the web. Check that out here.
And the Pittsburgh Pirates were mentioned as one of Fox Sports’ storylines of the month of August. Definitely check out that piece here.
Lastly, Adam Bittner of the Post-Gazette points out that both sides are missing the point in the Pedro Alvarez debate.
I still believe the Pirates are going to take this series against the Marlins. Too bad they need to keep up their torrid pace if they want to catch the Cardinals.
Next: Jordy Mercer returns to Pirates - what does this mean for team?