Charlie Morton talked for a long time with reporters this morning over the comparisons between him and Roy Halladay, against whom he’ll be pitching tomorrow as the Pirates open their series against the Phillies.
The similarity this year is remarkable, especially when television broadcasts show the two right-handers on split screen.
But Morton said there was no big overhaul of his delivery from 2010 to now. He’s always watched and admired Halladay – still does – and he noticed the shoulder tuck thing that Halladay does. He decided to try it himself, and let’s face it, Morton had a 7.57 ERA last year. He would have pitched while standing on his head if he could find a way to do it successfully and get back to the majors.
It felt good, he started pitching better, and stuck with it.
“I guess if that qualifies as me overhauling my delivery to look like Roy Halladay, OK,” Morton said. “It’s a story, I mean, I had an 8 ERA last year and I’m pitching better and people want to make it sound like it’s a major overhaul. The arm angle was the biggest thing. I like watching him pitch. I think watching him has really helped me a lot. I’ve admired what he’s done in his career. But I think it was blown out of proportion.”
Anything that Morton has done in his career mechanically, he said, is to benefit his career, not because he’s trying to be someone else.
“I’m not delusional, I don’t think, ‘Oh my God, people are saying I look like Roy Halladay and I’m pitching like Roy Halladay, so I’m Roy Halladay.’” Morton said. “I didn’t do the shoulder tuck thing that he does to be Roy Halladay, I did it to see if it worked. And I was pitching well.”
= Morton also revealed that they’ve been working on a few things lately to address a slight drop in velocity in recent starts.
= Here’s Clint Hurdle talking about Pedro Alvarez’s big double-play to end the seventh inning with a runner on and Chipper Jones pinch hitting: “The conversation we had on the mound was hey, if you get a ball, and you’ve got to lay out or you bobble, don’t hurry because Chipper’s not running well. Take your time. And sure enough, he laid out, gloved the ball and he did take his time. Big play for us, absolutely.”
= The Pirates struck out 14 times on Thursday, bringing their total on the season to 801, the fifth-highest total in the league. “When you’re producing runs, you can live with it,” Hurdle said. “When you’re not producing runs, it’s hard. … The only good strikeouts are the ones where you’re getting 7, 8, 9, 10 pitches that you’re doing something with. And that’s been one of the blemishes that’s we’ve really not been able to make major progress on.”
= Just one last thing, and that’s what a remarkable series this really was. The offense was abysmal, for the most part, and everyone knows the Pirates got completely robbed in the 19-inning game. But they could have gone 4-0, against the Braves, on the road. Instead, they split it, 2-2, which is what good teams are supposed to do on the road anyway. It’s no secret that this is a telling stretch for the Pirates, and while it’s not over, this series spoke volumes about how hard this team fights and how well they hold their own against the big boys.