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Has Matty Mo lost his fastball?

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  • Has Matty Mo lost his fastball?
    Friday, April 16, 2004
    Posted 11:40 PM by Brian
    THE VELOCITY OF MATTY There's a guy, a friend of a friend, who was down in Jupiter, Florida during spring training. And one night he ran across ex-Cardinals pitcher Jeff Brantley in a bar. Brantley, so I'm told, was drunk out of his mind, and he was railing against Cards pitching coach Dave Duncan. He kept saying that Duncan doesn't know pitchers (Brantley kept chiding him as "the catcher"), and claimed that Duncan's only successes were flukes. Now, I don't know if any of this is true, or even if Brantley meant what he said. And if he did, I don't know that we should care -- after all, Brantley started going downhill on Duncan's watch, so it could just be sour grapes.

    But here's the ominous part: Brantley then announced that everyone knows Matt Morris' fastball is gone, and everyone knows he'll never get it back. That's a scarier charge, and might be more than the rantings of a drunken, third-tier broadcaster.

    Has Matt Morris lost his fastball? Well, we should ask ourselves: if this is true, if Morris' velocity is gone, what other things would also be true? First of all, his radar gun readings would be lower. It seems clear to me that they are. I watched Morris' readings all night, and although I didn't catch every pitch, the fastest pitch I saw clocked in at 90 mph. A year ago Morris would giddyup that thing to around 94.

    What else would be true? Well, you'd see more guys pulling the ball. A few of the Rockies -- namely, Castilla, Burnitz, and Charles Johnson -- had no problem wheeling on Morris' heater tonight, but that doesn't tell you much. I'll have to keep an eye out for this one in the future.

    Lastly, if Morris' fastball was going limp, you'd expect his strikeout rate to drop. Let's see: Morris' velocity is reputed to have dropped off sometime around last June. From June 2003 until tonight, Morris punched out 5.05 guys per 9 innings. From the beginning of 2002 through June of last year, Morris struck out 7.20 guys per 9 innings. That's a plunge of over two strikeouts per game.

    Well, you might say -- who cares? Morris still has a fine changeup and a good power curve, and he's won his last two starts without a devastating heater. And yes, there were times tonight (and in Arizona) where Morris seemed like he was evolving into a crafty location pitcher.

    I don't buy it. Morris needs his fastball to work hitters inside and also to set up his breaking pitches. What's more, when Morris' big curve isn't working (as on Opening Day), he has nothing in his arsenal to fall back on. It's a depressing thought, but we might not see vintage Matt Morris -- the one who went toe-to-toe with Schilling and Unit in consectutive NLDS -- ever again.
    “I’ve always stated, ‘I’m a Missouri Tiger,’” Anderson said March 13 after Arkansas fired John Pelphrey, adding, “I’m excited about what’s taking place here.”

    Asked then if he would talk to his players about the situation, he said, “They know me, and that’s where the trust comes in.

  • #2
    If this is spells disaster for the season...#1 is shaky..Woody is breaking down faster than a Yugo in Havana...and Carpenter's repaired arm..

    Haren, Dan..table for 1.

    We should try to move him after the break if we are not anywhere near contention..maybe we can get some value. is early..disgruntled ex-pitchers pissed out of the gord are not tha, we will be able to verify this pretty quickly..after all..all we need to do is'll be borne out.


    • #3
      The decline in strikeout rate is the thing that has me the most concerned. That usually spells doom for a power pitcher like Morris has been.
      “I’ve always stated, ‘I’m a Missouri Tiger,’” Anderson said March 13 after Arkansas fired John Pelphrey, adding, “I’m excited about what’s taking place here.”

      Asked then if he would talk to his players about the situation, he said, “They know me, and that’s where the trust comes in.


      • #4
        Pedro is the only power pitcher I can think of who can lose 5-7 MPH on his fastball and still be succesful. If Morris isn't throwing his curve for strikes, he's as hittable as any other pitcher we have because he doesn't have that great command. The K rate concerns me too, but I'm hoping that he will get some giddyup on his fastball as the season progresses.


        • #5
          I'm not sure why there's much question here. The velocity is down. Who knows if he'll get it back. I hope the Birds don't bet the bank on that happening though. JJ.


          • #6
            12.5 million reasons why they hope he can regain it.
            And, frankly, it has never occured to me that "winning" a debate is important, or that I should be hurt when someone like Airshark or kah, among others (for whom winning a pseudo debate or declaring intellectual superiority over invisible others is obviously very important) ridicule me.

            -The Artist formerly known as King in KC


            • #7
              After opening day, I changed my mind on wanting Morris re-signed. The loss of velocity has everything to do with it.

              There's probably few that wanted him re-signed as much as me. Not now. Not with that "fast"ball.


              • #8
                Talking about Morris' "fastball" is depressing...

                ...I liked this thread alot better when it was about his "football"...
                . . . and to tell you this: I work with gays, have friends who are gay, go to church with gays. Most of them are aware that I believe that homosexual behavior is sin. Some of them actually agree. Most don't. It's OK . . . because they also know or at least have been made aware of my multitude of sins: adulterous heart, lustful and covetous behavior, wicked pride, angry spirit . . . do I need to go on?
                mike smith, post-dispatch online sports editor