Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Moving On From Morrow Mess

It's too easy to fuel the fire this morning about Brandon Morrow's unfortunately choice to spend his career in the bullpen when his team desperately needs starting pitching. Calmer heads will focus on an unfortunate game that left an all-to-familiar bad taste in the mouths of Mariner fans. With 2 outs and nobody on base, and a 2 run lead, Morrow threw pitch after pitch off the plate in the same location. With no ability to make an adjustment, and no advice from his backstop or dugout that helped, 3 walks in a row and his night and the game fell apart. That is done, and we move on.

Two valuable lessons should be learned from last night:
1. When you have a young starter turned reliever who missed time due to injury and recently had command issues, you don't send him out on an island to fail. Simply put, someone should have been warming up in the bullpen. There is a show of confidence that managers have with established closers that keep them from warming someone up while they are on the hill in the 9th. Morrow has not earned this show of confidence. In addition, ALL of the Mariner arms are rested and ready to go, yet they sat in the bullpen as Morrow gave the game away. Batista didn't help the situation, but by the time Batista came in things were already out of control. Bring him in with runners on 1st and 2nd instead of the bases juiced and it probably would have been a different story.

2. Chuck Meriwether was horrible. He is to blame for the Mariner loss as much as Morrow and Batista.

From the Seattle Times: Bedard gave three runs back in the fifth — two on
Michael Cuddyer's two-out single after plate umpire Chuck Meriwether failed
to call a third strike on a 2-2 pitch down the middle.

Is anyone else tired of seeing pitches thrown belt-high or slightly above called balls? The vertical portion of the strike zone was around 12 inches tall at times last night, while balls off the plate were called strikes. Umpires like Meriwether are calling the game incorrectly. In this case it let the Twins back into the game.

(Photo: AP/Seattle Times)

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