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We've been hearing about Charlie Morton's "Great Stuff" for what feels like decades, even though he hasn't even been with the organization for a year. In his first five outings of 2010, his earned runs were, in order, 8, 6, 5, 5, and 3, all losses. His ERA ranged between a low of 12.57 and a high of 21.60. To say that great stuff was not making much of a difference would be a fair assessment.

Thankfully, Morton appears to have turned it around of late, making some inroads in his previous start and finally getting his first win of the season last night in a 4-2 decision over the Chicago Cubs.

Morton went six innings, allowing five hits and two earned runs while striking out three and walking not a single Cub. His ERA was "lowered" to 10.30 in the process, the lowest it's been all season.

The Pirates are 12-15, and Morton has basically sunk their ship in at least four of those games. He may be just one man, but getting him to be even passable as a starter could make a noticeable difference with this team's results. Plus, there's the added benefit of less stress on the Pirate bullpen, which has logged about 26 innings in Morton's five previous starts. So consider last night a potentially big step, being extremely cautious in that enthusiasm.
As far as the Bucco offense, they had nine hits and four runs off of Cubs starter Ted Lilly in a balanced attack, featuring four players with at least two hits. Ryan Church homered for the second time in the series and Garrett Jones knocked in two to lead the charge.

The Pirates go for the three-game sweep at 7:05 tonight, with Randy Wells (3.45, 3-0) taking on Brian Burres (6.00, 1-1).

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HomeRunFromBehindTheMeatballs said...

The best part of Morton's work last night was the ZERO BBs! Maybe, with a few more decent starts, the rumor that "Charlie Morton's stuff is soooo good that he can't even control it" could fade away.

Somehow this team is 12-15 with turrible starting pitching, and mostly turrible hitting to date (LaRoche [tearing up] & Cutch [maintaining pace] being the exceptions). With Ross "Mr Wonderful" Ohlendorf possibly coming back soon and Morton possibly turning a corner... is there reason for optimism??? Prob not, but one can dream, can't i?

Unknown said...

i wouldn't get too worked up. cubs can't win in the division for some reason.

Chip said...

The Pirates division is pathetic top to bottom. They're the only one with five teams and somehow 4 out of the 5 are under .500 If this isn't the year to flirt with .500, it will never come.

How great is it to see the Cubs suck? Life isn't so great when you aren't owned by a billion dollar tv station/media company that pumps ungodly money into your sad team now is it?

Dallas Mike said...

Chip, I would rather have an owner that spends a ton of money versus an owner that uses the franchise as an estate planning vehicle...The website for Ogden Newspapers Inc. says all you need to know about how Bob Nutting feels about making an investment in a business. I can only imagine the quality of some of those newspapers.

Anonymous said...

Chip, you're an idiot. There are SIX teams in the NL Central - count all the fingers on one hand, then one on the other. That makes six (6). The Cardinals have the best record in the National League and are the favorite to win the pennant. So much for your knowledge of baseball.

Dallas Mike, you are correct. The Nuttings are absolutely oblivious to what is said about them in the Pittsburgh media. Ogden and Bob are protected in their little haven of Wheeling. On top of that, they own most small newspapers in the region not owned by Dick Scaife, namely the Washington Observer-Reporter and the Beaver Valley Times. When John Perotto wrote unsavory of the Pirates management, he was shown the door. I highly doubt Ogden and Bob read the PG or the Trib to read what is said about them, nor would they really care.

Koz said...

I wouldn't go so far as to say Morton has "turned a corner." 1 decent start after 5 poor ones doesn't mean anything.

Yeah he had 8 strikeouts on Apr 30, but also allowed 2 HRs and 6 runs (3 earned).