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Mariners blog

Daily coverage of the Mariners during the season and all year long.

September 4, 2008 at 5:13 PM

Morrow up against it

Tomorrow night’s debut by Brandon Morrow will be anything but a soft landing into the world of major league starting pitching. His opponents, the New York Yankees, are known for their ability to make starting pitchers work for every out. Just take the past two weeks as an example.
Over the last 12 games, heading into today’s contest at Tampa Bay, the Yankees have allowed the opposing starter to go an average of only five innings every time out.
And those starters have thrown an average of 93 pitches per outing.
Only five starters have lasted six innings or more.
One of those was Roy Halladay, a Cy Young Award candidate for the Blue Jays, who lasted seven innings and gave up two runs. The other was A.J. Burnett, the hottest pitcher in the AL next to Cliff Lee of the Indians. Burnett went eight innings. Jon Lester went 6 2/3 innings, but needed 119 pitches to do it.
The rest? Been a mess.
Edwin Jackson lasted only 3 1/3 innings last night. He threw 70 pitches. Matt Garza needed 100 pitches to make it through five the night before. Poor Justin Verlander threw 64 pitches and only got through 1 2/3 innings the previous day.
Here are the number of pitches seen by each AL team per plate appearance:
Cleveland — 3.96
Boston — 3.88
Oakland — 3.88
YANKEES — 3.86
Rays — 3.85
Rangers — 3.84
Tigers — 3.82
Orioles — 3.81
Blue Jays — 3.81
White Sox — 3.78
Twins — 3.75
Mariners — 3.70
Royals — 3.68
Angels — 3.64
So, yes. Morrow is up against it. He’ll have to come out there with more than just a fastball, which the Yankees have seen before. Morrow has had trouble getting in six innings in the minors. If he gets through five frames tomorrow, I’ll consider it a major accomplishment. Right now, I’d expect anywhere from four to 4 2/3 innings, if he’s allowed to throw 90 pitches.
Over the last two weeks, starters opposing the Yankees have needed an average of 19 pitches to get through every inning. So, less than five innings for Morrow — not as experienced as those others at starting — sounds about right. So, whatever you do, don’t base your hopes and dreams for the future on this one night. It could be a very hard lesson indeed for Morrow along the road to better things.

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