A little more than a week ago, we were all excited by the patience the Pirates showed against Clayton Kershaw. On Wednesday they struck out 11 times and walked just three times against Jonathan Sanchez, a guy routinely compared to Oliver Perez.
Of course, as much as we can pretend this game was about Jonathan Sanchez’s domination of the Pirates, it’s much more about Charlie Morton’s struggles. After both Friday and today, it really seems like he’s fine until someone gets on base and once that happens, he completely falls apart. So far in 2010, he’s given up a grand slam, a three-run homer, a two-run homer, and the only solo homer he’s allowed was of the inside-the-park variety thanks to some suspicious Garrett Jones outfield play. I don’t want to say anything that can’t be fully backed up by numbers, but so far based on his 2010 performance I’m really wondering if he’s either struggling with pitching out of the stretch or tipping pitches when runners are on base. It’s obviously a small sample size we’re working with here, but things seem to snowball on him pretty quickly and something just seems like it’s a bit off.
In any case, the Pirates are 4-5 right now but it’s hard to think of this west coast trip as anything but a brtutal experience. Unless something changes in the very near future, it seems like the Bucs are just a hair away from an ugly early-season skid.