A nightmare situation arose on Tuesday night in the ninth inning as Eli Morgan entered the game with a 5-0 lead. A lead-off hit and two consecutive walks led to a bases-loaded, no-outs jam with a pitcher on the mound who couldn't find the strike zone.
Morgan has struggled since having a fantastic start to the season. Hitters are starting to stay back on his changeup which has been by far his best pitch in the past. The young pitcher is going through an adjustment period in the league and there is no reason to give up on him any time soon, and Francona seems to think so too.
After the game, Tito said, "his fastball is kind of doing this (moves hand side to side) a little bit instead of this (moves his hand up and down)..."
Here's what else he said:
If Morgan can work to tighten up his fastball command and combine it with his incredible changeup he may be able to get back to where he was in June.
The one encouraging sign is that Francona mentioned that Morgan feels great so it doesn't appear that any injuries seem to be the cause of his struggles on the mound.
Morgan isn't the only relief pitcher in the MLB that seems to have hit a rut as the season goes on. Yankees' All-Star closer Clay Holmes has an ERA of 9.00 in his last seven days and Josh Hader, who the Padres just acquired had a 12.54 ERA in the month of July.
Working through these ruts and developing other pitches is what is going to make Eli an even better pitcher in the future.
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