Mariners Analysis

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Still don't understand Morrow

I've watched a lot of baseball over the years, and I've seen a lot of hard-throwing pitchers who have a fastball and little else get lit up. Remember Putz when he first came up? His arrow-straight fastball was launched over the wall enough times to make even his mother wonder if he would ever be what he is now- one of the top relievers in all of baseball. He threw hard, but that's about it. And when he got in trouble, he tried to throw harder. The lesson was obvious- no matter how hard you throw, the hitters will eventually catch up to you.

So is the difference between Morrow and early Putz just some movement on his fastball? Every time I watch Morrow, I sit in amazement at his effectiveness. Essentially his technique boils down to this- throw as hard as possible in the general direction of home plate.

Watch where the catcher sets up, and watch how often Morrow actually locates his fastball. It's not uncommon to see a hitter fall behind 1-2, and yet not a single pitch would have been a called strike. It seems like the hitters look at that fastball and are convinced they can hit it, much like Putz 3 years ago. So they bail out Morrow by swinging at pitches out of the strikezone.

The comparison that jumps to mind is Mariano Rivera. His cut fastball has been fooling hitters for years. They know it's coming, but can do little to hit it. It has just enough sideways movement to deceive the hitter, and is probably responsible for at least a few WS rings.

Morrow is wild, has one pitch, and is effective. I don't know how long he can keep this up, but I enjoy the show pretty much every time he steps on the mound.

Especially because I can't explain it.