Game 48: Morton Pounded Again

I think it is time to pull the plug on Charlie Morton’s first half of 2010. Send him to Indy and let him get himself straightened out.

Morton made his 10th start of the year and picked up his 9th loss. It was ugly early. Scott Rolen hit a three run homer in the first and Jay Bruce made it consecutive shots with a solo jack. It was 4-0 before the fans were settled in their seats. In the second, consecutive singles were followed by an error from Andy LaRoche that allowed one run to score. Drew Stubbs added a two run, two out single to make it 7-0 before the fans had finished their first giant pretzel. Morton was done have scattered six outs among eight hits and three walks. He allowed seven runs (five earned).

The flip side was Johnny Cueto. He was stellar again. He lasted six innings and struck out nine while allowing only three hits and two walks. The Pirates were unable to score against him. The Pirates did score twice off the Cincy bullpen. It wasn’t nearly enough.

The Good
Jeff Clement had three hits to pull his average over .200.

Aki Iwamura had a pinch hit single and an RBI to extend his hitting streak.

Jeff Karstens – my pick to enter the rotation – tossed four innings of long relief and allowed just one run.

The Bad
Well, Morton.

And the offense.

The Rest
Last pitcher to lose 9 of his first 10 appearances in a single season was Edgar Gonzalez with Arizona back in 2004. His 10th start was his last appearance of the season and his starts were spread out of about 90 games.

I’m having flashbacks to Jose DeLeon in 1985. It isn’t pleasant. Of all the players I’ve ever seen play in my life, I wish I could grant a do-over to DeLeon and Eric Davis.

Clement had his third career three hit game.

Ronny Cedeno became the 7th Pirate to hit leadoff. This was just the sixth time in his career that hit leadoff.

For reasons that I don’t understand, Zach Duke was used as the pinch hitter for Morton. He has had one pinch hit at bat in each of the last four seasons. Rick Rhoden he is not.




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Just a guess: it could be that Duke was sent up to hit rather than a position player on the bench because it was Russell’s way of sending a message. “OK, you position players are hitting like pitchers, well then, I’ll send up a REAL pitcher to pinch-hit instead of you guys.”

Duke is, of course, the best hitting pitcher the Pirates currently have, and in an extra-innings game where the bench had already been used up, he’d normally be the next option. But as you say, Duke is nowhere close to Rick Rhoden (or Don Robinson or Ken Brett or Vern Law) when it comes to Pirates pitchers who could hit.

Morton needs to go. NOW.

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