By Matt Snyder
Charlie Morton, Pirates. He was one out away from a shutout of the Reds at Great American Ball Park. Jay Bruce homered, but that didn't stop Morton from finishing the complete-game gem. He only gave up five hits and two walks while suffocating a pretty solid offense (granted, Brandon Phillips was out). He entered the game with a 2.08 ERA, but had walked 10 hitters with only three strikeouts. Friday, Morton improved significantly, striking out three to those two walks.
Justin Masterson, Indians. That ERA now reads 1.33. Masterson held down the Orioles through seven innings, only giving up four hits and a run. He has been absolutely brilliant thus far in 2011, as has his team. The Indians are 9-4 and tied for first with the Royals (what is this, the bizarro AL Central?).
Cardinals offense. Lance Berkman was supposed to be cooked, instead he's hit six home runs this week, after his two-HR night Friday. Albert Pujols was scuffling a bit to open to the season, but everyone with a brain knew it was only a matter of time. Well, that time has arrived. He's hit three homers in his past two games, including two Friday night. Colby Rasmus, Yadier Molina, David Freese and Matt Holliday are raking and the Cardinals are now the first team since the 2000 Tigers to collect at least 15 hits in four straight games. During that span, they've scored 43 runs.
Bobby Jenks, Red Sox. Pretty disgusting outing for the big man. It reads: walk, single, strikeout, single, single, single -- with a stolen base and wild pitch intertwined. He left with just 1/3 of an inning worked while having allowed four runs. The 2-10 Red Sox lost by one. But don't take my word for how bad Jenks was, you can get it straight from the horse's mouth: "I flat out stunk tonight." (Boston Herald )
Nick Blackburn, Twins. It still amazes me how quickly he nailed down a rotation spot in the spring while Kevin Slowey was sent to the bullpen. But we're past that now. Friday night, against a Rays lineup with Matt Joyce and Felipe Lopez making up the 3-4 hitters, Blackburn was shelled. He coughed up 10 hits and five earned runs in six innings, as the Twins fell to 4-9.
Erik Bedard, Mariners. I'm glad he's healthy, because no one should wish all the rehab he's gone through the past few years on anyone. Still, Bedard is clearly struggling to work back to form. He needed 106 pitches just to get through 4 2/3 innings, while giving up seven hits, three walks and four earned runs. This was against a Royals lineup sans Alex Gordon and Wilson Betemit (before you laugh, check out their numbers thus far).
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