Team RankingAVGRHRERA
Pirates.2606971403.21
NL Central Division1st1st4th2nd
National League 4th4th9th2nd

Morton's pitches and ERA both sink

The Sports Xchange
 
Roster Report · Notes, Quotes · Morton's pitches and ERA both sink
 

A new, improved Charlie Morton?

It sure looked that way Monday night in St. Louis, when the Pirates' most exasperating starter turned in six sharp innings -- one run, three hits -- in a 4-3 muzzling of the Cardinals. Morton threw his sinker in an unfair velocity range of 94-96 mph and pounded it low in the zone all night, drawing 13 groundball outs.

"He's a completely different pitcher than he was last year," closer Joel Hanrahan said. "With the stuff he's got and the way he pitched in spring training, this really shouldn't be a surprise. He was breaking bats all night."

Second baseman Neil Walker added, ""He's got really good stuff, used all his pitches. He gave us a really good outing."

It might seem like a distant memory to those who have watched Morton all spring and then Monday night, but he was 2-12 with a 7.57 ERA last year, such a mess that the Pirates had him spend much of the summer in the minors not only to improve his pitching but also to clear his head.

While with Class AAA Indianapolis, Morton sought advice on a sinker grip from Mike Crotta, owner of the system's best sinker. Morton had been forbidden by the coaching staff to throw his sinker last season, mostly because it was nothing special. But Crotta's grip, plus a drop to a three-quarters delivery advised by new pitching coach Ray Searage, combined to bring Morton his currently dynamic sinker.

"It was really just a matter of putting it all together, the grip and the delivery," Morton said.

Morton already had the lively arm, with new teammate Matt Diaz comparing him this spring to Atlanta's superb youngster, Tommy Hanson. But having a steady, reliable pitch has brought the one ingredient that has been missing in the majors: confidence.

"I feel good," Morton said. "This is fun."

Copyright (C) 2011 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.

CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
2015 Team Leaders
AVGFrancisco Cervelli , C.295
HRPedro Alvarez , 1B27
RBIAndrew McCutchen , CF96
OBPAndrew McCutchen , CF.401
SLGAndrew McCutchen , CF.488
RAndrew McCutchen , CF91
SBStarling Marte , LF30
WGerrit Cole , SP19
ERAGerrit Cole , SP2.60
WHIPGerrit Cole , SP1.09
KFrancisco Liriano , SP205
SVMark Melancon , RP51

Latest Pirates Video

February 10, 2016
Fantasy Outlook: Gregory Polanco (1:16)
January 28, 2016
Fantasy Outlook: Starling Marte
(1:16)
January 27, 2016
Fantasy Outlook: Andrew McCutchen
(1:09)
January 26, 2016
Fantasy Outlook: Jung Ho Kang
(0:55)
Fantasy Games