Yes, that’s Brandon Morrow out on the mound, finally making his major league debut as a starter. Mariners manager Jim Riggleman said pre-game that he’d be happy if Morrow can get into the fifth or sixth inning, given how many pitches these Yankees tend to make pitchers throw.
Morrow is on a pitch limit of about 90. It could go up to 95 if, say, his final batter of the night was to foul off a bunch of pitches. But Riggleman really doesn’t want it to get much higher than 90.
Just 14 more pitches by Morrow in the fourth inning — and he walked Derek Jeter that frame. Morrow is now at 46 pitches, having not allowed a hit. His team leads 1-0 in the bottom of the fourth after a Miguel Cairo double in the third that led to an eventual sacrifice fly by Yuniesky Betancourt.
Morrow isn’t the only Mariner making a debut tonight. Yes, that’s Matt Tuiasosopo down below. Tuiasosopo is starting at third base and batting seventh against Andy Pettitte, a pitcher he watched from the Kingdome stands as a 9-year-old during the 1995 Division Series. Tuiasosopo notched his first major league hit, a double into the right field corner off Pettitte in the fourth. The crowd gave him a long and loud ovation. With no team video footage available during yesterday’s off-day, Tuiasosopo decided to pull up some YouTube files of Pettitte off his computer.
“He looked pretty nasty in those videos,” Tuiasosopo said. “He was striking everyone out.”
Did he gain anything useful from them?
“Tendencies that he might fall into,” he said. “Pitches he might throw in counts. Movement on his balls.”
Listen to his pre-game session with reporters here.
7:51 p.m.: So far, it’s been nine up, nine down for Morrow as we head to the bottom of the third with the game still scoreless. His pitch count is only at 32, with a 13-pitch third the most he’s thrown in any one frame. Morrow got some quick groundouts by Hideki Matsui and Robinson Cano in the third, then fanned Jose Molina with a 1-2 fastball clocked at 95 mph. Morrow has thrown a ton of fastballs already, but the Yankees are not making solid contact — especially on the handful of pitches he’s taken something off of.
7:47 p.m.: So far, Morrow has needed only 19 pitches to cruise through the first two innings. He threw a nasty, 85 mph splitter to Jason Giambi on a 1-2 pitch in the second inning after setting him up with some high 90s fastballs. Impressive, but let’s see how much gas Morrow has left in the tank by the middle frames — if he makes it that far. We’re still scoreless.
7:12 p.m.: Brandon Morrow helped his cause by getting through the first inning on only 10 pitches, using a popout by Johnny Damon and groundouts from Derek Jeter and Bobby Abreu. Good start.
The Mariners, as you know, have a ton of catchers on the current major league roster. Down below, you’ll see the guy catching Morrow tonight.
Just kidding. It’s Kenji Johjima behind the plate tonight. Jeff Clement’s knee is still bothering him and Rob Johnson, well, he’s new and you know…