When Charlie Morton is on like he was tonight, he’s the Pirates third best pitcher on the staff behind Gerrit Cole and Francisco Liriano.
Morton pitching for the first time in a month, threw five shutout innings, allowing four hits, while striking out six and walking two in the Pirates 4-0 win over the Boston Red Sox.
Morton threw 92 pitches, 65 for strikes.
A frustrating pitcher this season, It was an extremely positive outing for Morton and with the Pirates mulling their post-season rotation, Morton has certainly put himself right back in the discussion.
“We feel we’ve got a guy there with Morton, we needed to see where he could go and what he could bring,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “We didn’t want to wait any longer. We wanted something to base our decision on.”
Morton faced a weak Red Sox lineup with five batters hitting under .250 and David Ortiz not playing. Morton’s next two starts will be against much tougher lineups. Morton is tentatively scheduled to start Sunday vs the Brewers, a start in what will likely be the primary decision for the Pirates brass on whether he is apart of the post-season rotation, pending health and performance.
Liriano, Cole and Edison Volquez are locks with the final decision coming down to Jeff Locke or Morton. With post-season experience and the investment the Pirates made this off-season, the 4th spot in the post-season rotation is Morton’s to lose.
- The Pirates moved a season high 10 games above .500 at 80-70 on the season.
- Russell Martin hit a two-run homer in the second inning off rookie Anthony Ranaudo (3-3), his 1oth of the season, and Starling Marte added a solo home run in the sixth. Martin extended his hitting streak to eight games.
- The Brewers lead the Cardinals 3-2 in the top of the 12th. A Brewers win would move the Pirates just 2.5 games behind the Cardinals for first place.