Morrow's masterpiece bettered only by Halladay in Year of Pitcher
Blue Jays starter
Morrow attained a level of dominance from start to finish that exceeded all but the Phillies'
Morrow, who turned 26 two weeks ago, pounded the strike zone with a fastabll that averaged 93 mph for the game, and reached a high of 97 in the second inning, but it was his success throwing his slider for strikes. According to Pitch F/x data, he threw 38 sliders and two curves, and 31 of those 40 breaking balls (77.5 percent) were strikes.
His stuff was brilliant all day. For the first out of the eighth inning, for instance, Morrow snapped such an impressive full-count curve ball that the Rays'
One can only wonder what would have happened if first baseman
His final stat line was reminiscent to the greatest pitching performance of
Morrow has always had the talent for such a performance and, in fact, had thrown two other one-hitters of more than seven innings. The Mariners made him the No. 5 pick of the 2006 draft, though he's had an erratic career shifting from bullpen to rotation and back. He debuted as a reliever in 2007, but in his first career start on Sept. 5, 2008, he allowed just one hit to the Yankees over 7 2/3 innings, giving up one run and striking out eight.
Anointed Seattle's closer for 2009, he ran into trouble in May and lost the job. He later returned to the rotation where he had mild success highlighted by his final start of the year in which he again gave up just one hit, this time while shutting out the A's over eight innings with nine strikeouts. The Mariners shipped Morrow to Toronto for reliever
The Blue Jays made Morrow a full-time starter for the first time in his career. After his gem on Sunday, his record was 9-6 and his ERA was down to 4.45, but even after pitching the game of his life, he didn't look happy. While giving a postgame interview to Rogers SportsNet, his face wore an expression of disappointment, even before he fell victim to a celebratory Gatorade shower and two shaving-cream pie attacks.
Though a sports almanac won't list Morrow among the no-hitters of 2010, he can rest easy knowing he outpitched everyone in this Year of the Pitcher -- except Halladay.
Halladay cruised through Florida's lineup, striking out 11 over 115 pitches in a two-hour, 13-minute game in which the losing pitcher,
His volume of strikeouts and prowess with the slider -- both its bite and regularity in the zone -- give Morrow's performance the boost. He needed 137 pitches but 97 of them were strikes, including 25 called strikes, 20 swinging strikes and 41 foul balls, the latter an indication that the Rays struggled to square him up. Tampa Bay's
If ever there were a yeoman perfect game, this was it. Braden induced 21 outs in the field of play -- seven grounders, 14 flyouts -- to go along with his six strikeouts over 109 pitches. Only five times all game did Braden get the Rays to swing and miss. Third baseman
The asterisked perfect game was extraordinarily efficient, though not exactly dominant. Because of the now infamous blown call by first-base umpire
Garza allowed just one walk in his no-hitter, a free pass to Detroit's
Wood carried a perfect game into the ninth, when he allowed a double to Phillies catcher
From the sixth inning on, Jimenez's no-hitter was as good as any of the perfect games. It was in that frame that he began pitching out of the stretch full-time, because of his wildness from the windup that led to six walks in the first five innings. Jimenez retired the final 12 Braves in order, however, and and finished with seven strikeouts and 128 pitches.
Cain threw a 122-pitch one-hitter, and the one hit -- a double by Arizona's
Cueto's day was eerily similar to Cain's, as Cueto allowed two baserunners -- also via one hit and one hit batsman to the same guy, in this case Pittsburgh's
Jackson, who has since been traded to the White Sox, had about the most unsightly stat line possible for a no-hitter, as he walked eight Rays and hit a ninth. With all those baserunners and deep counts, he needed 149 pitches to go the distance and threw nearly as many balls (70) as strikes (79). So taxing was the performance that he was given an extra two days off before his next start and wasn't very good in his next five starts, going 1-4 with a 7.24 ERA.