Tag:Brandon Morrow
Posted on: September 29, 2010 4:32 pm
Edited on: September 29, 2010 4:51 pm

Shocker: Cal dropping baseball

In what we can only hope is not a sign of things to come, the University of California made the stunning announcement Wednesday that it will drop its successful baseball program as a result of the state's massive budget problems.

Baseball is a money-loser almost everywhere, with high equipment and travel costs and very little revenue generated. Non-revenue men's sports such as wrestling and swimming have been on the decline for years due to money problems and Title IX compliance issues, but for a big school in a major conference in a warm-weather climate to drop baseball is amazing.

"They've had a very rich college baseball tradition, been to the College World Series a couple of times and won a national title," Stanford coach Mark Marquess said in a statement. "It's a sad day for college baseball. It has an effect on all of the Pac-10. You are talking about a program that started playing baseball in the late 1890s. That's over 100 years of tradition."

Cal will also cut gymnastics and women's lacrosse and demote men's rugby to club status, all to reduce the amount of money the school devotes to its athletic department.

"This is not sustainable for our campus," chancellor Robert Birgenau said. "The situation has raised heated debate about the size and cost of our Intercollegiate Athletics program among many of our campus constituencies."

Cal has been to the College World Series five times and won twice, most recently in 1957. It's major-league alumni (full list here ) include Jeff Kent, Geoff Blum, Brandon Morrow, Xavier Nady and Conor Jackson.

Need another reason to support a college football playoff system? How about spreading around the money it would create in order to save non-revenue sports like baseball?

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .

Posted on: August 14, 2010 1:34 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2010 6:30 pm

Rays' amazing vanishing bats

Carl Crawford
Brandon Morrow's 17-strikeout, one-hit gem last week was mighty impressive, but the team he victimized was no surprise.

It was the fifth time Tampa Bay had managed one or no hits in a game this season, which baseball-reference.com points out is a major-league record. The Rays have been no-hit twice, including a perfect game, and one-hit three times.

Since 1920, 11 teams have had one or no hits four times. Most of the teams on that list were lousy, and only one (the 1986 Angels) was a division winner. Yet here the Rays are battling for the lead in baseball's toughest division. How can a team whose offense has the capacity to completely vanish be this good?

The Rays have somehow managed to score the fifth-most runs in the American League (and are within four runs of being in third) while being 12th in the league in batting average. They're not even particularly lucky on the balls they do put in play, with a middle-of-the-pack BABIP of .297. Their clutch numbers are also mediocre.

But the Rays do have ways to make the most of their at-bats and their baserunners. They take the most walks and have stolen the most bases in the league -- both by a wide margin. And the biggest factor on their win-loss mark is not their offense but their pitching -- they allow the fewest runs in the league.

That pitching will go a long way if they make the playoffs, but on the other hand, they're going to see great pitching as well. The fact that the offense is susceptible to being completely overwhelmed has to be worrisome for Rays fans.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Category: MLB
Posted on: August 10, 2010 7:18 pm

Jays to give Morrow extra rest

Brandon Morrow Bravo to the Toronto Blue Jays for taking care of Brandon Morrow's golden right arm.

Morrow will get extra rest after his 137-pitch no-hit bid against the Rays on Sunday, MLB.com reports . He won't pitch against until Aug. 17, with his scheduled start on Friday going to left-hander Marc Rzepczynski. The Blue Jays will call up Rzepczynski for Friday's game and then will likely be sent right back down.

That's likely good new for Anaheim, who will miss Morrow, and bad news for the A's, who will now see him instead.

Morrow has already thrown a career-high 127 1/3 innings in his first year as a full-time starter. He threw 124 2/3 innings between Seattle and Triple-A last season.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: August 10, 2010 6:22 pm

Blue Jays shuffle rotation

Brett Cecil The Blue Jays are moving two pitchers back in the rotation.

Brett Cecil cut his right knee on a fall, according to manager Cito Gaston via MLB.com's Jordan Bastain and required three stitches. As a result, Cecil's Thursday start is being shoved to Saturday. As a result, Cecil will dodge the Red Sox in the final game of the upcoming series and go up against Trevor Bell and the Angels.

Saturday's starter -- you may have heard of him -- will also be pushed back, this time three days. Brandon Morrow recently fired a complete-game shutout requiring 137 pitches and the team is exercising caution with the 26-year-old. As a result, Morrow loses out on the Angels and will duel Oakland, presumably against Dallas Braden. Hopefully Morrow won't encroach on Bradenia too bad.

As a result of the moves, Boston will see Brad Mills on Thursday, who is being promoted from Triple-A. Mills has made two starts on the season thus far, posting a 4.05 ERA over 11 innings -- which appears lucky as he has averaged 5.7 walks per nine innings and 4.9 whiffs per nine. The 25-year-old has 17 starts in Triple-A, checking in with a 4.20 ERA and a much more sane 7.9 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9.

On Friday, the Angels will see Mark Rzepczynski. The lefty had a solid major-league debut in 2009, posting a 3.67 ERA in 11 starts. However, that ERA has soared to 7.15 in two starts and two relief appearances on the season despite a 1.6 BB/9 and 10.3 K/9 mark thanks to an obscene .458 BABIP. However, his minor-league tour hasn't gone well either. He has an unsightly 6.04 ERA in 12 starts, although BABIP is plagued him there as well.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: August 8, 2010 3:54 pm

Morrow falls short of no-hitter

Brandon Morrow Brandon Morrow is a filthy pitcher and proved it Sunday against the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Blue Jay walked just two batters while punching out an insane career-high 17 batters, but fell short of a no-hitter with two outs in the ninth inning. Evan Longoria sent a wicked grounder to second base where Aaron Hill ranged deep but was unable to corral the ball.

The official scorer immediately noted it as a hit, bringing the year's potential fifth official no-hit game to a failed end. Morrow was also hurt by walking Ben Zobrist with one out, as Aaron Hill was at double-play depth. If he was at his regular position, that ball is likely a routine out.

Morrow is in his first season with the Jays, finally a full-time starter as he coveted and has given Toronto a strong, young pitcher to build around. He blends a mid-90s fastball with a wicked slider and complementary pitches in the curveball and changeup. Morrow's fastball velocity has actually decreased, as the former walk-prone righty has eased off his velocity to achieve better command.

Morrow has been able to do just that, reducing his walks per nine innings from 5.59 in May to a number that hasn't exceeded 3.52 per month since while his strikeout rate has remained rather stable. His high strikeout rate, however, has limited him to an average of just just under six innings innings per start in 2010 due to a high pitch count. In fact, on Sunday, Morrow threw 137 pitches, a new career-high after his previous mark of 116, set on July 4.

Coming into the game, Morrow's ERA sat at 4.79 (4.45 after his complete-game shutout) but that hides his actual value which is partly due to a high batting average on balls in play -- his xFIP is at 3.86. Combine that with his high-octane offerings, and the 26-year-old has to be considered one of the better young pitchers in the game.

Meanwhile, the Rays exhaled a sigh of relief, as the team has had its fill of no-hitters -- it would have been the third time on the season the Rays were blanked, fourth in two years.  Tampa Bay fell to Edwin Jackson (then with Arizona) and his superhuman 149 pitches and had Dallas Braden of the A's notch a perfecto in May, this coming a year after the White Sox' Mark Buehrle perfect game. The Rays also have a no-hitter on their side of the ledger with the previous no-hitter on July 26 being thrown by Matt Garza against the Tigers.

Named one of the most likeliest pitchers to throw a no-hitter by MLB Facts and Rumors on June 22, Morrow's bid at immortality will have to wait at least five more days.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.
Category: MLB
Posted on: June 22, 2010 11:45 am
Edited on: June 22, 2010 11:54 am

Top 10 candidates to throw a no-hitter

Dallas Braden It's safe to say that baseball is entering an era of pitching. In a span of 23 days, three perfect games were thrown (one unofficial, but in this man's eye, Armando Galarraga had a perfect game) and young pitching has been exploding in quantity and quality as of late.

CBS Sports will attempt to explain why pitchers have the advantage over hitters these days with Scott Miller checking in this afternoon. Danny Knobler will look at the Mets' pitching history as one of three teams without a no-hitter to their name. As a warmup, let's take a look at 10 candidates who have a chance to throw a no-hitter or perfect game, whether this year or down the road.

It should go without saying that it's near fool-hardy to predict who will throw a no-hitter. After all, who could have predicted Galarraga's success, or that of Dallas Braden, who notched the first perfecto of the year? Only Roy Halladay's gem could have been foreseen while Mark Buehrle cofounds logic with both a no-hitter (2007) and perfect game (2009) to his name.

With that caveat in mind, there are four attributes that lend themselves to greater odds for a no-hitter: strikeouts, walks, groundballs and defense. The best way to keep batters off the bases, quite logically, is to strike them out. This is balanced by a need to stay strong for the whole nine innings but is nullified due to the fact anyone with a no-hitter through six innings will stay on the mound until the end.

While walks are allowed in a no-hitter, those with shaky command are more prone to giving up hits, plus their odds for perfect games collapse. Last is something out of the hurler's control, which is defense. A pitcher must have strong defense behind him to make the sparkling defensive plays that are a staple of every no-hitter. Just ask Buerhle how good a defender Dewayne Wise is, or take a look at Austin Jackson's amazing warning-track catch that preserved -- at least at the moment -- Galarraga's bid. As for groundballs, if you can't strike 'em out, the next best thing is to induce a chopper that an infielder can flip to first for an out.

Defensive proficiency will be measured in UZR/150 (click here for an explanation of the statistic) -- but keep in mind that defense should only be considered for the 2010 season. Changes in defensive quality occur from year to year. Excluded from this list (sorry, Jon Lester and Ubaldo Jimenez) are those that already have no-hitters and perfect games on their resume -- a good amount of these players like the ones that received an apology also have high odds to add another to their resume.

Without further ado, your candidates with statistics through Tuesday, June 22:

Mat Latos RHP Mat Latos , San Diego Padres
2010: 7-4, 3.13 ERA, 79 IP, 8.1 K/9, 2.4 BB/9, 45.6 GB percentage, Team UZR/150 of 10.4

Latos is blessed with the league's best defense and plays in one of the most extreme pitcher's parks to boot. In his first full season, Latos has shown he's already among the better young pitchers in the game. He has already come close to a no-hitter, giving up one hit -- an infield single -- in a complete-game shutout of the Giants on May 13. He walked none and whiffed six.

Brandon Morrow RHP Brandon Morrow , Toronto Blue Jays
2010: 4-5, 4.97 ERA, 76 IP, 9.95 K/9, 4.86 BB/9, 40.8 GB percentage, Team UZR/150 of -4.5

Morrow has some endurance concerns to work with and he's not exactly a control pitcher as evidenced by his average of almost five walks per game. However, he has electric stuff and certainly could have a no-hitter in his grasp. On a good day or as he matures as a pitcher, a perfect game is feasible. He's already sacrificed a bit of velocity and strikeout ability to tamp down the walks, a large reason why his ERA has dropped almost two full points since May 10.

Dan Haren RHP Dan Haren , Arizona Diamondbacks
2010: 7-5, 4.71 ERA, 101 1/3 IP, 8.97 K/9, 1.78 BB/9, 42.8 GB percentage, Team UZR/150 of 6.7

Haren may not have the ERA (4.71), but his xFIP of 3.43 shows that he's been rather unlucky on the year. Haren is one of the best pitchers in the game and turned in 229 1/3 innings of 3.14-ERA ball in 2009, so not only can he produce, he can do it while going deep into games. His command is simply fantastic, and any time he toes the mound at a park not named Chase Field, he's got a great chance at a no-hitter. (Haren was a subject of CBS' Sports Fantasy Baseball podcast Tuesday, give it a listen here .)

Ricky Nolasco RHP Ricky Nolasco , Florida Marlins
2010: 5-6, 4.90 ERA, 82 2/3 IP, 6.53 K/9, 1.85 BB/9, 38.5 GB percentage, Team UZR/150 of -1.6

Nolasco has somehow lost three strikeouts per nine innings off his game, but if he reclaims it, should combine stingy command with his gas to rank as one of the league's best pitchers year in and year out. He has strung together two impressive seasons prior to 2010. Working against him is his groundball percentage and a home park with a big outfield.

Hiroki Kuroda RHP Hiroki Kuroda , Los Angeles Dodgers
2010: 6-5, 3.06 ERA, 88 1/3 IP, 7.13 K/9, 2.45 BB/9, 53.5 GB percentage, Team UZR/150 of -9.4

Surprised to see Kuroda on the list? Don't be. The 35-year-old combines a strong strikeout rate, walk rate and groundball rate into someone who keeps runners off bases and doesn't give up too many extra-base hits. While the team is a sieve on defense (the UZR/150 mark is the worst in the majors), most of the damage comes from the outfield.

Jered Weaver RHP Jered Weaver , Los Angeles Angels
2010: 7-3, 3.04 ERA, 94 2/3 IP, 10.7 K/9, 2.19 BB/9, 37.2 GB percentage, Team UZR/150 of -7.2

Weaver doesn't have the defense behind him but if he keeps up his newfound two-seamer and ascension into the ranks of the pitching elite, he'll sniff a no-hitter before his career is over. The 27-year-old is breaking out, but the one negative is he has yet to go further than 7 1/3 inning on the season. On the bright side, he has four career complete games (two shutouts), all of which were registered in 2009.

Adam Wainwright RHP Adam Wainwright , St. Louis Cardinals
2010: 10-4, 2.23 ERA, 109 IP, 8.34 K/9, 2.39 BB/9, 52.3 GB percentage, Team UZR/150 of 2.5

Wainwright is a horse's horse and misses a lot of bats. His curveball -- as Carlos Beltran can attest to -- could be his money pitch, which would cause plenty of strikeouts and groundballs. He gave up just two hits and one walk (eight punchouts) in a complete-game victory over the Brewers on June 4.

Cliff Lee LHP Cliff Lee , Seattle Mariners
2010: 5-3 2.55 ERA, 77 2/3 IP, 7.76 K/9, 0.46 BB/9, 43.2 GB percentage, Team UZR/150 of 1.4

Cliff Lee is having a season for the ages with an obscene 16.75 K/BB ratio. All batters can do is hope against hope they can put the bat on the ball and it somehow finds a green patch of grass. He may not whiff as many as others on this list, but he doesn't have to when he simply doesn't give up a free pass unless the manager wiggles four fingers at him. He pitches in a pitcher's park with a strong defense behind him as well.

Stephen Strasburg RHP Stephen Strasburg , Washington Nationals
2010: 2-0, 1.86 ERA, 19 1/3 IP, 14.90 K/9, 2.33 BB/9, 44.1 GB percentage, Team UZR/150 of 1.6

It's not often that someone with three career starts to his name lands on a list such as this, but Strasburg isn't your usual pitcher. He combines filthy stuff with pinpoint control and keeps setting strikeout records. Not only is Strasburg a candidate for a no-hitter or perfect game, but it wouldn't be shocking if he racked up multiple no-hitters. Nolan Ryan holds the MLB record with seven total no-hitters, and it's not out of the realm of possibility Strasburg could match Ryan provided Strasburg pitches for many years to come.

Tim Lincecum RHP Tim Lincecum , San Francisco Giants
2010: 7-2, 3.11 ERA, 92 2/3 IP, 10.29 K/9, 3.59 BB/9, 48.9 GB percentage, Team UZR/150 of 8.4

Lincecum is the reigning back-to-back Cy Young victor and at age 26, is just getting started. He's giving up a few more walks than normal, but also leads baseball in whiffs per nine innings. On July 27, 2009, Lincecum whiffed 15 Pirates in a complete game effort. He coughed up three walks and four hits in that outing. The closest he has come to a no-hitter was June 29 of the same year when he gave up two hits to the Cardinals, but shut them out on eight punchouts and no walks.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com