Friday, September 22, 2006

Krukow on Morris this Morning on KNBR

I recommend listening to Krukow's show on the Murph and Mac show on KNBR (just click on Krukow photo before his next show on Monday), he actually talked extensively about Morris and what his thoughts were about Morris' struggles this year. As Murph noted, this punches a hole in the "homer" image that people have of Krukow.

For those who don't want to listen, here's what I remember. Basically Krukow thinks that Morris have been pitching every game like it's the 7th game of the World Series because he wanted to justify his big contract. And he's dog tired now.

This is something I've been noting about Morris all season long, about how he might be over-amped for the games. But he is suppose to be a pro's pro and not prone to this type of jitters.

He also mentioned what Lefty noted in a recent post, that he's going with his breaking ball constantly now, showing no confidence at all with his fastball. He talked about what Morris needs to do to be successful now (pitch in and out, location) vs. his past when he had a fastball with a great "second stage", a stage that is lacking now. He noted that Morris at this point in the season has no "second stage" on his fastball and this is when vets like Morris should be doing great, it is youngsters like Sanchez that one would expect to do poorly, because of inexperience.

Kruk thinks that Morris will be better next year because it will be more comfortable for him. This is his first time he has changed teams so everything was unfamiliar, but next year he will have some continuity that will help him not be so fired up each time he pitched. It will help him to calm down.

Again, we paid him all that money to avoid a problem like this. Or maybe he mentally pitched down to the $5M we paid him this season. Either way, this is not something we were sold on about him when he signed on with us. But, in any case, that's our only hope to salvage anything from this contract, it will be pretty ugly if he pitches like this the next two seasons at $9.5M per.

Kruk also noted that Morris is not an ace or #2 anymore, at this stage of his career, he's an good innings eater with a lot to offer to his younger teammates. That was the opinion of most Giants bloggers when Morris signed, he would be the #2 on the staff but not a true #2; I was hoping Lowry or Cain would take that mantle, performance-wise, during the season but neither fully embraced it yet, though Cain looked like he was until this last start.

However, we expected a lot more than he has delivered so far. He was OK as of probably sometime in August, but then went south. Had he continued pitching well or at least not this bomb-tastic since then, his worth would not be in question, I think, but, obviously, he didn't and it is. I mean, really, I understand losing to St. Louis, but Milwaukee, losers of a lot of games this season and this month?

So that is definitely not a homer description of Morris, it seemed like a very objective description of where Morris is right now, warts and all, with a ray of sunshine for next season. So now we just have to hope that Krukow is right.

4 comments:

  1. He was OK as of probably sometime in August, but then went south. Had he continued pitching well or at least not this bomb-tastic since then, his worth would not be in question, I think, but, obviously, he didn't and it is.

    This is totally what happened with Pierzynski in 2004. He had a horrible last month and that's basically why people hate him so much. Well, that and the crotch-kicking...

    As for Morris, can't we just admit that maybe he's not that good anymore? I respect Krukow's opinion, but it just seems like he's dancing around the fact that Morris might just be a mediocre pitcher at this point. He's had two major arm surgeries since '03 and I think it's foolish to expect that he'll ever be as good as he was in '01-'03.

    ReplyDelete
  2. A.J. also sucked to start off the season too.

    I guess it depends on what you define as good. His ERA will probably never be under 4 again. Most will say that is not good, that's average if he can keep it in the 4-range.

    However, his PQS, as I've been tracking it this season, is in the DOM%=40%ish-range, and that's good, there's probably only 20-30 pitchers who have higher DOM%.

    I cannot find record of two major arm surgeries since '03 or even for career. He had off-season shoulder surgery before the 2005 season (late 2004) that put him on the DL to start the season. He also had a broken hand in 2003, but no surgery for that. Then had Tommy John surgery in early 1999.

    I'm hoping that the surgery had held back his full recovery but I'm grasping for straws now.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Well, his last start certainly gives reason for hope. I definitely believe he will give a lot of thought to his approach over the winter. I also would expect him to be motivated to get into better shape, something that players reaching their mid/late 30s begin to realize they HAVE to do if they don't want to be embarrassed.
    What do you think of putting starters on a stricter pitch count/innings limit. ie 90 pitches or 6 or 7 innings, depending on effectiveness AND pitch count. My sense is that throwing 110-120 pitches costs the pitcher in his next start, or the start after that. If a guy knew he was only going 6 or 7, maybe he would be freed up to really get ready for the first inning - ie throw more, work up more of a sweat, get the breaking stuff working. Then, fewer disastrous 1st innings. My theory is, if a guy has a goal of going 8, 9 innings, he might scrimp on the warm up, hoping to go deeper into the game. I also think there is kind of an ttitude, well, yeah I give up runs in the first, but then I get on track in the second.

    ReplyDelete
  4. And, obviously, with the news that his horrible period coincides with his broken ribs, that gives more reason for hope.

    I think that probably had more to do with his decline, than being in shape, and I think you would agree now with this news.

    About pitch counts and IP goal, this never seemed to affect any of the pitchers when I was growing up, they were able to pitch complete games and still pitch well.

    And I am not an adherent for pitch counts; if you assume the worse, you will never find out if your pitchers are capable of doing more. I think, like most things in life, it all depends. As you noted effectiveness and pitch count would factor in. I think the situation with the bullpen could affect things if they need to keep the starter going to save the bullpen.

    But for pitchers like Schmidt who has a history of physical problems, I think it would behoove the manager and team to lay a pitch count on him, based on how hard those pitches were, like if you was battling batters a lot or was wild or what have you. Or like Rueter, I think Alou was a bad match with Rueter, Alou wanted his pitchers to pitch 6 innings but Rueter's history is that he loses gas at around 90 pitches but Alou would keep him in and Wham! Kirk would be pounded.

    But I think he has handled Cain fine and, it was never all on Felipe regarding the pitchers, Righetti was given a lot of responsibilities handling the pitching staff.

    ReplyDelete

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