Of course Brandon Morrow began having a flashback or two to the second game of the season. Remember, when he couldn’t throw strikes, walked the bases loaded and then Miguel Batista gave up the tying and winning runs in the ninth right here in Minnesota? Well, the curtain began coming down on Morrow yet again in his first outing since coming off the DL.
Morrow gave up a run-scoring single to Joe Mauer, then back to back walks to load the bases up in a 5-3 game. Morrow then threw two straight balls to Brendan Harris before finally landing a strike and eventually getting a groundout with the count full.
“I guess i’d be lying if I said ‘No’,” he said. “But you just push that out of your head. Once you get the ball back and become set, you’re not thinking of much. I was just trying to stay calm and do what I’ve been doing the last four or five times out. I started missing and you’ve really got to try to lock it back in at that point. But I got it done.”
Of course, this wasn’t as easy as replicating his last four or five outings, since he hadn’t been on a mound in over two weeks.
“I think once I started falling behind a bit, I started aiming the ball,” he said. “That’s a problem. You can’t do that. You’ve got to trust what you’ve got and let it go. Let it go naturally. You can’t try to aim it, or push the ball or place it into the strike zone.”
Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu said getting Morrow back in there was a huge step.
“It was such a big deal for him to come back,” he said. “Just the belief system and to be able to get that last out was huge.”
Morrow hadn’t wanted to go on the DL intially, feeling he could pitch with the soreness in his arm. But the team hadn’t wanted to take chances.
Wakamatsu was thrilled to emerge with a ein on a day Erik Bedard’s leg cramped up from the first inning onward. That’s a big reason he issued the five walks today and threw 110 pitches over 4 2/3 innings. The key, as we mentioned, was Bedard limiting the Twins to just two runs.
The home run by Griffey, especially off a left hander, obviously gave the team a huge boost.
Wakamatsu agreed the dugout was somewhat flat by the eighth inning.
“You go through that and you go ‘Here we go again with the offense’,” he said. “Again, this offense, you see spurts where we can be OK, and others where I don’t have the answers for it yet. It’s just something we’ll continue to work on. But for Griffey to hit it off the lefthander, again all those things, when you know that you do have Morrow available and the bullpen available, it makes you feel pretty good about it.”
Griffey tried to downplay his impact.
“We just kept on battling back,” he said. ‘We were fortunate to throw a streak together and it worked out for us.”
Yes, but he played a key role. On a team with this little power, seeing Griffey pull that homer over the right field wall and club that earlier double to right center had to be encouraging.
This team needs its DH to hit like one if it’s going anywhere this season. Today was a start.
May 10, 2009 at 5:55 PM