Brandon Morrow Strikes Out 17
Out of the cornfields he strode to the mound, his right arm smoldering after warming up in the bullpen. He took the mound, pulled his cap low across his eyes, reared back, and began to dismantle the opposition with some of the filthiest stuff the game is ever seen. He was untouchable, throwing strikes at will. For 8.2 innings not one batter could pick up a hit as Ray after Ray returned to the dugout with his head held low. Evan Longoria broke up the no-hitter with a grounder to the right side of the infield to break up the no-no in the ninth, a mere out from history. Undaunted, the flame throwing righty struck out Dan Johnson on his 137th pitch to end the one hitter. All told the California native struck out 17 batters, walked two batters, allowed just that single hit and obviously didn’t allow a run.
That pitcher is Brandon Morrow.
The strikeouts, one off the Blue Jays team record, were a surprise, but at the same time time Morrow does lead baseball with a 10.67 K/9 mark. He usually struggles with control, his BB/9 mark is 4.03, but clearly we saw yesterday what can happen when he locks in his pitches. Can he continue to throw strikes? That’s a good/open question. There is also the issue of how his arm will rebound from a career-high pitch total. Brandon has only two other games this season with as many as 110 pitches, so the hope is that this big pitch total from yesterday doesn’t weigh him down moving forward. I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Blue Jays have him skip a start, or at best to severely limit his pitch totals the next few times out.
It’s that time of year for bullpens. There are a handful of teams that just might be making changes to the backend of their bullpens.
Florida Marlins: Leo Nunez has a 2.91 ERA, 49 Ks and a 4.08 K/BB mark in 46.1 innings. Those numbers are all strong. However, he has blown each of his last two chances and is 26-for-33 in converting saves on the year. Moreover, he has allowed six runs in his last three innings and seven in 5.2 innings. The team hasn’t said they will make a move, but it might be closing in changing things up in the ninth inning. “For now, he’s our closer, but if he doesn’t make an adjustment, we may have to explore other options — maybe do a closer by committee,” Marlins’ manager Edwin Rodriguez said.
Milwaukee Brewers: Trevor Hoffman is three saves from 600, so the Brewers have an interest in helping him to make history before the year is over. He has pitched really well of late – 1.42 ERA over his last 19 appearances – so well in fact that he is now the co-closer with John Axford. “The thing with Hoffman is he’s earned his way back to saving games,” manager Ken Macha said. “That’s not to eliminate Axford from doing things, too, because he’s done nothing to write his name out.” Hoffman’s value goes up, Axford’s obviously goes down.
Washington Nationals: Drew Storen, the Nats closer of the future, isn’t quite ready to take over the closer reigns right now. “”For me, he is kind of a work in progress,” manager Jim Riggleman said. “He is showing flashes of a really fine guy at the back end of the bullpen — closer potentially.” Look for Storen, Sean Burnett and Tyler Clippard to share work in the 9th inning until one emerges.
Andrew Bailey (rib/side) will likely miss at least another week more.
Daric Barton (shoulder) was forced from the game on Sunday. It is unclear if he will require a DL stint.
Gordon Beckham (groin) might end up missing a few days, though the injury isn’t thought to be serious.
A.J. Burnett (back) should be able to make his next start on Tuesday.
Eric Chavez (back/neck) is considering retirement.
Dustin Pedroia (foot) hopes he can return in about 10 days.
Alex Gordon (heel) says he is improving. Will continue to play through it.
Carlos Guillen (calf) has been activated from the DL.
Kyle Lohse (forearm) will make at least one more start in the minors.
Kris Medlen (elbow) will wait one more week before deciding if he needs Tommy John surgery.
Alex Rodriguez (shin) returned to action on Sunday for the Yankees.
Jason Varitek (foot) took BP on Sunday. There is still no timetable for his return.
Vernon Wells (toe) will undergo more tests on Monday after he injured his toe making a wonderful catch on Sunday trying to help Morrow to a no-hitter.
Jack Wilson (hand) had a fall at home and broke the fifth metacarpal bone in his right hand. He’ll be placed on the DL.
The Braves purchased the contract of Mike Minor.
The Giants will promote Emmanuel Burriss on Monday.
The Mariners will promote Chris Woodward on Monday.
The Orioles sent Troy Patton to the minors.
The Phillies sent John Mayberry to minors.
The Dodgers designated for assignment Garret Anderson and purchased the contract of Jay Gibbons.
The Tigers sent Will Rhymes to the minors when they activated Carlos Guillen.
The Nationals sent Collin Balester to the minors and recalled Jason Marquis.
The Athletics will call up Chris Carter, and Jeff Larish for that matter, on Monday. Carter has 27 bombs and 89 RBI at Triple-A this season, and those numbers go along nicely with his totals of the last two years: 38 HRs, 104 RBI and 28 HRs, 115 RBI last year. The kid can slug it, and with the injury to Daric Barton, Carter just might get the chance to play every day in Oakland.
By Ray Flowers