Hope on the Mound for Toronto

By Bianca Buono

pitchermorrow2013 did not go as planned for the Toronto Blue Jays. They acquired several notable players such as Melky Cabrera, Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buerhle and more. However, the addition of a mix of superstars did not work out as planned. The team finished 74-88 and last in the AL East.

The biggest problem for the Blue Jays lied in the circle. The team’s ERA ranked 14th worst in the league and when competing in the toughest division in baseball, this is a problem.

In addition to the pitching struggles, injuries did not help. Key players such as Jose Bautista and Jose Reyes missed extended periods of time due to a hip and ankle injury; however, arguably the most detrimental injury belonged to pitcher Brandon Morrow.
The starting pitcher had issues with his right forearm and worsened the already struggling starting rotation. Morrow is healthy heading into 2014 and according to second year manager John Gibbons, he has to stay that way.

“He’s got to stay healthy. The last couple years he’s been banged up and missed too much time on the disabled list. We’ve got to have him out there for thirty to thirty plus starts. He’s big for us. When he takes the field he’s got one of the best arms in baseball and he’s capable of winning a lot of games,” said Gibbons before his second start of spring training.

In 2012 although Morrow only pitched 21 games, he had a 2.96 ERA. Toronto catcher Josh Thole knows what he wants to see from the pitcher this season.

“I want him to be the Brandon Morrow I think we all remember. I remember watching him when he was in Seattle and I think getting him back to his old form will be nice,” he said.

Yesterday against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Morrow gave up five earned runs but was overall satisfied with his outing and pitch command.

“It wasn’t terrible but obviously, you know, the further I get along the mistakes are going to turn into better pitches. The important thing is that I felt good.”

The Blue Jays face the Tampa Bay Rays tomorrow and will have another starter in Mark Buerhle on the mound.