Morrow unveils new pitch
Brandon Morrow officially unveiled a new pitch during his last start against the Red Sox but on Sunday afternoon he began to throw it on a more regular basis. It’s a mix between a slider and a cut-fastball, which appeared to do wonders against the powerful Yankees lineup.
Morrow had arguably his best start of the season and snapped a personal four-game losing streak with eight scoreless innings. His velocity was back up in the mid-to-upper 90s while the cutter was clocking in at 88-91. The difference in velocity kept the Yankees hitters off balance and left them unprepared to handle a curveball that Morrow went to for an out pitch after getting ahead in the count.
It was a big step forward for Morrow, who has two starts remaining in his season. The 27-year-old, in my opinion, has the best pure stuff on the Blue Jays pitching staff. The results haven’t been there since the All-Star Break but they resurfaced against the Yankees and it could go down as a big building block heading into the offseason.
Here are today’s leftovers… and don’t forget you can follow me on Twitter @gregorMLB.
On the cutter…
“What he has done, is he has taken his slider and tightened it up some. So a lot of the pitches where he was in fastball counts, he would go to the cutter, 3-1 fly ball to right field from Rodriguez, a couple of foul balls at the plate. Then he used his curveball a little bit more as a finishing pitch.
“It’s just a slight adjustment off his slider but yeah he used it. The breaking balls you’re seeing 88-91.
On Thames being hit in the head and whether he had seen that before…
“On some crazy blooper highlights but not in person like that. That’s kind of a scary moment. At first, you thought it hit him in the helmet to take the helmet off but it was a direct blow to the eye and then caromed to the visor and took it off. But I think, right now, he’s fortunate that the laceration is the only thing that is sustained.
“Within a matter of 30 seconds to a minute it was swelling quite a bit. He wanted to finish the at-bat but there was now way we were going to let him at that point.”
Thought about letting Morrow finish the game?
“We’ve got kind of a soft limit in terms of pitch count. He’s at 107, didn’t want to get him to 120 pitches, eight very good innings pitched today. To leave on a positive note, as well as Frankie (Francisco) has been pitching, it was a decision that was relatively easy.”
Different approach in Morrow’s start today?
“The one thing that he’s attempted to do and that is pitch a little more controlled at times. In other words, not reach back for his best velocity all the time. I’m not saying he’s feeling for it, but maybe in some ways pacing himself somewhat and when he missed location that’s when he has been hurt without his best velocity. He went out today with a little bit more determination from the first pitch on. So when he made a mislocated pitch on the plate it was a foul ball rather than a pitch getting squared up. He was able to sustain that stuff for the entire outing today.
“I think just better consistent intensity from start to finish.”
On Arencibia throwing out Cano in the first and how that helped Morrow…
“I think when you look back we’ve seen, I don’t want to say a big inning, but a multi-run inning, and they’ve shown up at various points in the game. But the double steal that we were able to get the trail runner, any time you’re able to pick up an extra out in those potential big innings, it can snuff it out and fortunately today it was.
“For any starting pitcher you’re looking to kind of settle into the rhythm of the game in that first and he got some help from behind the plate in that case.”
On Thames’ defence in left field…
“He’s come a long way in left field. He’s a tireless worker, there’s been some times early on where it was a little touch and go but through the repetition he’s feeling more comfortable. I think instinctually, and through repetition, he’s getting better reads on some balls that tail towards the line and that was the case again today. “
“The potential of him every night to be unhittable, he’s capable of it every night. Today he was unhittable. When he has that kind of stuff, he’s one of the best pitchers in the big leagues.
“These next seven games are meaningful to us because it’s against good competition and it’s definitely meaningful to those teams because they want to try and make the playoffs.”
On wrist injury…
“Just something that can’t heal because it’s such a important part of your swing, and all the vibrations and all that stuff. He’s given me a lot of days off lately and I think it’s really helped with my wrist recovery.”
Summary of his season…
“There’s been some times of struggle. There’s been some really good times. I think my numbers are pretty good, but I didn’t play in May, I was there in August and really didn’t do anything, so pretty much it’s four months of work that my numbers come from. Those months have been good and August was really bad.”
“I needed that once just to get my confidence back. I’m still trying to finish strong and that’s a good place to start.
“I went out very aggressive. I was very aggressive in my bullpen and warming up and I just said I’m going to give everything I have pretty much on every pitch, go right at them and give it my best stuff.
“I went as hard as I could for as long as I could.
“When I try to make pitches I get myself in trouble leaving the ball up instead of finishing it off. Even if I miss my spot a little bit my fastball still has enough life on it to get to the back of their swing. With the curveball I was throwing it for strikes and throwing it down and getting them in between, because that’s my best change of speed pitch.
“The cutter was good at getting my early outs and a big out 3-1 against A-Rod, that’s a big pitch right there where they’re probably looking heater.”