Bats fall silent, Morton finishes season with gem
It’s been a rocky up and down season for Charlie Morton but on Saturday night in Miami –despite the 2-0 loss to the Marlins– he ended his season with a smile.
The right-hander pitched his best start of the season and cracked a smile after the game when addressing the media. Morton pitched six innings allowing two runs on four hits with one walk and nine strikeouts –which were his career high and the Pirates’ season high from a starter.
It’s been a long process for Morton but in order for him to be successful he knew he had to move past the horrible first two months of the season that he said “felt like two years.” Morton finishes the season 2-12 with a 7.57 ERA (which has been steadily dropping from 10.03) but those numbers don’t indicate how much he has improved and performed since being re-called in August.
“I’ve moved on past it, which has allowed me to pitch better and do things I need to do,” Morton said. “It looks good on paper. I’m not really concerned with that right now. Other people are, and I understand that. But my attitude and my approach and the way that I go about things is what matters. Results come secondhand from that.”
Morton’s best pitch is his fastball –which he used four out of the nine k’s for the third called strike– although he used his curveball for some swinging strikes as well.
“He’s good when he pitches off his fastball, like most starting pitchers are,” Bucs manager John Russell said. “He had good velocity, good angle.”
“He did good,” noted Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez. “[He has good] arm strength and a very powerful arm. He pitched a very good game.”
The only two runs Morton allowed were very unlucky. In the fourth inning, an infield single bounced over the head of Alvarez and a sac fly by Chad Tracy scored the lone two runs of the game.
“I’m really happy he was able to finish the way he did,” Russell said. “The way he is throwing the ball, it should be a good thing for him to take into the offseason. He should be a good guy coming into Spring Training.”
“I have, for a while now, wished I had more time because my approach is a lot different,” Morton said. “I think that I’m having more fun, which makes it more enjoyable. Now, I do know I can go out there and compete with what I have. Not only can I compete, but I can succeed and do my job. That’s what makes it hard to walk away knowing it’s my last one.”
John Bowker went 2-for-3 with a walk and Ronny Cedeno –who committed another error, six in the past 8 games– went 2-4 on the night. The bats fell silent and the Bucs left nine on base.
The Pirates fall to 57-104 –which matches the Pirates 1985 club who had the worst record in a 162 game season (58-104).