The normally hard-throwing Morrow simply is not missing enough bats.
After fours starts for the 2013 Blue Jays, Toronto’s number two starter has posted a 5.57 ERA and a 1.714 WHIP through 21 innings pitched. His 6.9 K/9 ratio would represent a career low and his 4 home runs allowed would put him on pace for a career-high in that category as well. But where Morrow is really being killed is the 12.9 hits per nine that he is surrendering.
However, upon further investigation, the cause for concern diminishes a bit.
Morrow looked good in his first start in 2013, just as he did in 2012. However, in both cases, it was a downhill slope from there.
In 2012, Morrow started the season off with 7 strong innings against the Cleveland Indians, surrendering two unearned runs, but only striking out 3 in the process. However, his first four starts lacked quite a bit, as you can see below:
Now, let’s compare that to this season’s first four starts:
As I said, his first start in both 2012 and 2013 were solid, but both resulted in no-decisions. His 2013 debut saw Morrow strike-out more batters and he added more to the team’s win probablility, but registered a lower game score.
From there, Morrow’s starts dipped in both seasons. Morrow’s second and third starts of 2012 came against the Orioles and Rays respectively, with the righty getting knocked around a bit in each start. However, Morrow saw a nice climb in his swinging strikes in game two of 2012, but was ultimately victimized by the long-ball in each contest.
Conversely in 2013, Morrow’s second and third starts of this season yielded slightly different results. Like the rest of Toronto’s rotation, he was crushed by a tough Detroit line-up, in a game where he failed to record a single strike-out and no swinging strikes. Morrow would rebound nicely against Kansas City a few days later, going six strong, but still only getting a pair of swinging strikes.
The fourth starts in 2012 and 2013 were quite different for Morrow. 2012 saw him hold that same Royals line-up to just a single run over six strong innings, but still miss out on the strike-out factor, but ultimately keeping KC off balance. In 2013, that fourth start came against a Yankee line-up that was not so kind, knocking Morrow around for five earned and a pair of home runs.
That all said, Morrow seems to show a knack in the early starts of not missing bats. I can’t tell if it is because his velocity is down, as it was last night, or if he is simply still working his way through his motions, and trying to get through the kinks.
The end results have not been pretty thus far in 2013. However, we can continue to hold out hope that Brandon Morrow, like the rest of the vaunted Blue Jays roster, gets things straightened out sooner rather than later.