Morrow and the costly homers

Brandon Morrow started off the year on the right note with a dominating performance against the Indians. Since then, though, success has been much tougher to come by against American League East division rivals Boston and Tampa Bay.

The problem — as it often is with starting pitching — comes down to location. In the past two starts, Morrow’s fastball has crept up into the zone and he’s had difficulty getting his offspeed pitches over for strikes. The fastball location will come because he’s shown the ability to rectify that issue in the past but the offspeed pitches remain a work in progress.

One of Morrow’s top priorities in the spring was using his curveball and changeup on a more consistent basis. On Wednesday night, the effective changeup was there but the curveball wasn’t as effective and the inability to go to that pitch on a consistent basis allows teams like Tampa to sit on Morrow’s fastball-slider combination.

Morrow said after the game that he would take a look at some video to see if perhaps there was a mechanical problem that was causing issues with his fastball. If there is, it should be a relatively easy fix and that’s something the Blue Jays have to be hoping for as they need Morrow to establish himself as a bonafide No. 2 starter this season.

Here are today’s leftovers:

John Farrell:

“Tonight, Brandon had powerful stuff … When he made a mistake out over the plate, he wasn’t able to get away with too many mistakes. With first-pitch fastballs they found their way back to the middle and were squared up for extra-bases, particularly with the way Joyce swung the bat tonight.”
“He was up in the zone a little bit more tonight than the first outing over in Cleveland. Again, fly balls in this ballpark can be a dangerous combination.”
“When he went to some secondary stuff, he would fall behind the count at times and they would get a fastball at some point in the count and when they did, it kind of found its way back to the middle of the plate.”
On his mechanics… 
“At times he can get a little quick over the rubber and would start to leap towards the catcher rather than taking that turn and allowing things to catch up the timing of it wise … Sometimes it appears that when he tries to get some extra velocity that’s when he ends up getting a little more flat in the zone instead of maintaining that downhill plane.”
What can Morrow do moving forward…
“It still centers around fastball location … That’s where effectiveness is sustained.”
Jeff Mathis:
“Yeah, he just got behind a few guys and when he messed up they weren’t missing the mistakes.”
On Morrow’s off-speed pitches…
“He was having trouble getting that over. Just trying to mix it up and do whatever we can to get ahead of guys.”
Difference between this start and last…
“Just locating pitches a little bit better, getting ahead of guys. That’s the main thing with anybody. Getting ahead of guys so you can use that secondary stuff. That might have been the issue.”
Brandon Morrow:
What went wrong?
“I wasn’t very good with my fastball at all, poor command and I thought it was flat in the zone. And it found a lot of bats. Tried a number of times to get my curveball over, that wasn’t working for me. Had a decent changeup but when you’ve got poor fastball command like that, things aren’t going to go well.
What now?
“Continue to work on what I’ve been working on, keeping it down in the zone and on the corners. Tonight was pretty poor.
Something mechanically?
“Maybe I’m looking at some things but I don’t want to jump the gun and try to blame anything right now.
Trouble with off-speed? “Definitely. I was getting into some poor counts and then I threw a lot of fastballs down the middle. They found a lot of bats.
Anything reliable?
“My changeup was all right, just didn’t get myself into a lot of great counts to use them in. I started off a few guys with a changeup, but I can’t throw it every pitch.

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