Charlie Morton is having an uncharacteristically rough year, at least on the surface. Morton was charged four earned runs his last time out against Pittsburgh, but look at the rest of his line — 12 strikeouts, only five hits surrendered, and a walk. It’s certainly not a shabby performance, and Charlie looked dominant for most of the affair, but this weirdness is the epitome of the 38-year-old’s season. Before he goes on the bump against the Cubs today, let’s look at the source of his issues.
Charlie Morton has been miserable in the first inning this year, posting a 10.50 ERA. It seems like he takes a bit of time to lock in, especially as far as control goes. After that, Morton looks like the guy who led Atlanta’s staff last season. The Braves pitcher has 8 of his 26 total walks in the first inning, but it’s not just the free bases that haunt him. In his last start, we saw what has happened all too often — Morton served up some dangerous pitches that were crushed.
This one is really strange, because for the most part, Morton’s stuff has looked really sharp. But the stats don’t lie. Hitters have a staggering 41.5% hard hit rate against Charlie, the highest recorded in his career. But even though he’s been hit around, I’m still confident in his stuff. In his past two starts, he’s struck out a total of 20 batters in only 11 innings. There’s another cause for all the runs and barreled balls.
This is what I think the root issue is with Charlie Morton in 2022. I’m no pitching coach — there could be a multitude of other problems, but control is the one that sticks out to me. Charlie’s four walks per nine innings this season marks the highest in his career since 2016. But beyond just the walks, when Morton tries to work back into the count, he often finds trouble.
Bryan Reynolds clears the deck! pic.twitter.com/9cadTtkRy4
— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) June 11, 2022
Morton has been extremely unlucky too, with opposing batters having a .333 BABIP against him. Eventually, that will come down, and hopefully, his confidence goes up as a result. I still think the Charlie Morton we saw last season is in there somewhere. Perhaps this afternoon against a struggling Cubs team is when the turnaround begins.
Photo: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire