By Sam Bush
Phillies starter Adam Morgan might have well have been a real estate agent yesterday:
Location, location, location!
Morgan had a tough time locating pitches in the 9-4 loss to the Reds. It caught up to him in the fourth inning.
Morgan, making his fourth start of the season, came unraveled in a 39-pitch frame which featured five Cincinnati runs. The first run of the inning came when the lefty walked opposing pitcher Dan Straily on four pitches with the bases loaded. The last three came when Eugenio Suarez crushed a 3-2 change-up for a three-run homer.
It would be the last pitch of Morgan’s outing, the most trouble-filled of his short career. The second-year major leaguer allowed a total of seven runs in 3 2/3 innings. He gave up eight hits, including four in the Reds’ two-run second inning and walked another three batters as 41 of his 87 pitches missed the strike zone.
“Right from the gate, I felt like I was searching for the rhythm and the tempo and it was just one of those days where the command wasn’t there,” Morgan said.
The 3 2/3 innings ties for Morgan’s shortest start in the Majors, and the seven earned runs were the most he has given up in his 19 outings with the Phillies. The start raised Morgan’s season ERA from 3.94 to 6.41.
“It wasn’t coming out of his hand real well,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. “It was uncharacteristic of Morgan because he normally has outstanding command and he relies on that. And when he doesn’t have it, what happened today is likely to happen.”
Morgan, who made 15 starts last season and was promoted from Triple-A in late April after Charlie Morton suffered a season-ending hamstring injury, spent a lot of the day working out of the stretch.
He allowed hits in every inning he was on the mound. In the second, Morgan gave up hits to the first four batters and Cincinnati got on the board thanks to back-to-back doubles from Jay Bruce and Adam Duvall.
Walks hurt him in the fourth inning. Morgan issued a walk to Bruce to start the inning, and after intentionally walking Tucker Barnhart to load the bases with one out, Morgan threw four straight pitches out of the zone against Straily. Straily stepped to the plate 0-for-12 in his career at the plate, and Morgan said, “It’s one of the loneliest feelings in the world, walking a pitcher and walking a run in.”
He’s looking to put the inning and the outing behind him.
“It goes back on trusting your stuff and trusting your routine,” Morgan said. “You just keep going. There’s 20-something more starts left. You can’t really sulk over this one, and I know I need to be better.”