One nice start doesn’t mean everything has clicked for Brandon Morrow, just like a couple of lousy outings meant this transition from reliever to starter is a hopeless exercise.
Still, Morrow twirled a beaut last night for the Class AAA Tacoma Rainiers, beating Fresno 7-2. He gave up two runs on seven hits and a walk (with five strikeouts) in seven innings.
If you want a pitch-by-pitch breakdown of Morrow’s outing, check out my buddy Ryan Divish’s blog on the News Tribune site. That one also features a pretty entertaining dialogue from readers on the merits of some of the blogs on the Mariners.
From a purely personal standpoint, it’s nice to see Morrow experience some success after what has been a tough year physiclally and mentally. Brandon is a good kid who wants the best for the team, but all the back-and-forth from relieving to starting to relieving (some of it the Mariners’ doing, but some of his own, too) has created stress not only on his arm but also his mind.
And also remember that Morrow is diabetic and has his blood-sugar levels to monitor. He described to me at spring training the number of times he must prick his finger and test his blood on days he starts to make sure he keeps his levels consistent through the game, and I was both amazed and a little queasy (don’t like needles all that much).
And although he has never mentioned it, I’m sure the whole Lincecum-Morrow-What-Where-The-Mariners-Thinking draft debate has added another layer to what he’s dealing with. Every time he has a ball in his hand, someone is bound to make the comparison. It’s not fair to Morrow — wasn’t his fault the Mariners picked him over Lincecum — but that’s life in the big time.
Does last night’s outing mean Morrow has finally arrived as a starter? No. He needs to pitch like this on a consistent basis. Not only that, he must learn how to cope when he doesn’t have good command of the fatball or a feel for the breaking pitch. He’s in a good place now, at Tacoma, to learn all that.