Pirates starter Morton unfazed by upcoming Game 4 stage
Yes, Charlie Morton said, he is excited to pitch against the Cardinals in Game 4 on Monday, but you could sense there was a “but” coming.
The Pirates' contemplative right-hander paused and considered his next words.
“I think there are preconceived notions that it's different,” Morton said. “Different games may present different challenges, or the consequences might be different than other games. But at the same time, when you get to the park you realize that you're here with these guys, the coaches have our backs, and we're playing baseball against a team we've played against before. So while the outcome of the game has tremendous consequence, it's the same game.”
Tremendous consequence, indeed.
Morton, 29, will be making his major league postseason debut in what could be a deciding game. The Pirates and Cardinals enter Sunday's Game 3 with the series tied, 1-1, so Morton will either be pitching with the Pirates just one win shy of a berth in the National League Championship Series or facing elimination and needing to win to force Game 5 in St. Louis.
“I really don't know exactly what to expect, but I know how to play baseball,” Morton said. “The rest is just managing the emotions and the thoughts.”
Morton enters the game with a 7-4 record this season, including a 6-2 mark (3.28 ERA) in the second half. He's had a string of no-decisions in his past four starts but is 4-1 with a 2.67 ERA in his past 11 starts with only one home run allowed.
His track record against St. Louis isn't as strong. In his most recent start against the Cardinals on Sept. 8, he was lifted after giving up five runs in 12⁄3 innings at St. Louis. He lost a 13-0 decision at PNC Park on Aug. 1 and was in line for a win but had a no-decision in a 14-inning loss at Busch Stadium on Aug. 13. All told, Morton is 0-6 against the Cardinals since winning a 4-3 decision on April 4, 2011, at Busch Stadium.
At this time a year ago, Morton was 31⁄2 months removed from Tommy John surgery and two years removed from a 2-12 season in which nothing seemed to go right. Closer Jason Grilli can relate to someone who's had his ups and downs. Grilli said Morton has some of the nastiest stuff he's seen, and it's been even more impressive watching him gain his confidence.
“Sometimes, when you step away from the game — I don't know if mature is the right word — but maybe it makes you hungry more?” Grilli said. “I know, for me, when the jersey's ripped off, you're like (darn it), I want to be there and I want to be successful.”
Karen Price is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @KarenPrice_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates’ attempts to bolster roster at deadline a fruitless endeavor
- Pirates notebook: Trade rumors for Red Sox pitcher Lester still swirling
- Pirates think Mercer’s defense deserves more credit
- Pirates inquire about Red Sox LHP Lester
- Thursday’s scouting report: Pirates at Diamondbacks
- Rossi: Liriano no ace, but he’s Bucs’ key
- Pirates notebook: Hurdle, Huntington on same page