The Pittsburgh Pirates lost to the Cincinnati Reds 8-2 Thursday night, dropping their second game in a row and falling to 20-28 on the season.
Pirates starter Charlie Morton (1-9, 9.35 ERA) was hit hard once again.
Morton was awful from the start, allowing 7 runs, 8 hits and 3 walks through the first two innings of the game as the Reds batted around the order in both innings.
Morton (2.0IP-8H-7R-3BB-2SO-2HR) lasted just two innings and had his second shortest outing of the season, that included a 68 pitch count.
Manager John Russell had an hour long meeting with Morton after the game, but according to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Morton will remain in the rotation for now.
When asked by reporters if Morton will remain in the rotation Russell said, “As of now … yeah,”. “He’s worked really hard and, unfortunately, tonight was a night where nothing really paid off for him, Russell said. “We’ll re-evaluate it and see where we are. It was a step back, and we’ve got to see what we can do to go forward again.”
The Pirates are always quick to point out excuses for Morton. They have continued to indicate that Morton is progressing. Last night the excuse of shoulder fatigue quickly came up.
“He’s (Morton) had some shoulder fatigue, but he’s been fighting through it,” Russell said. “In his last couple of starts, he’s felt a little bit of pain, fatigue. But he seemed to throw the ball pretty firm tonight. It was a good sign. We’ll have to keep evaluating him. You hate for one start to kind of negate the little bit of progress he was making. He was making some — not great.”
The Pirates have reached a situation where Morton the major league’s loss leader is not only hurting the team every fifth day but could also be derailing any hope of having a quality career in the majors.
Morton has a minor league option and doesn’t have to clear waivers to workout his issues in Triple-A Indianapolis. The Pirates remain hard headed on keeping Morton in the rotation who they regard as having the best stuff on the staff.
*The Cincinnati Reds are the NL Central leaders and have won 21 of their last 30 games, moving a season-high eight games over .500 at 28-20.
*Neil Walker made his first start at second base. It was not a good night at the plate for Walker who went 0-for-5 with 2 strikeouts. Walker is batting .231 on the season (3-for-13).
*Andy LaRoche returned to the lineup and started at third base. LaRoche was 1-for-4 at the plate and continues to struggle in the field. LaRoche’s throwing error in the second innings was costly and prolonged a 4 run inning. LaRoche has 8 errors on the season.