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Monday, May 21, 2007

Matt Morris: The Un-expected Ace

When you look at the Giants starting rotation on paper, seeing names like Barry Zito, Matt Cain, Noah Lowry and Tim Lincecum, you kind of lose track of the guy who has been the team's stopper this season. Matt Morris continued his 2007 dominance on Sunday in Oakland with a complete game, 2 hit masterpiece vs. a streaking A's offense. Morris still isn't blowing people away, as his fastball didn't get over 88 mph Sunday, but his tremendous curveball, and uncanny command have carried him to a 5-1 record and a 2.93 era, both of which lead the staff. I think everybody was certainly expecting Morris to rebound from last years nightmare, but I don't think anyone was predicting this. I was hoping to get a .500 season out of Morris with an era in the low 4's, but a 17+ win season is not out of the question at this point, even with the sketchy Giants bullpen and offense. His recent success also has to have the Giants wondering about trading him while his value is peaking. The one spot where the Giants have some depth is in their starting rotation, so if they are going to go out and add another hitter (Richie Sexson, Bobby Abreu, Troy Glaus, Lyle Overbay?) or a few relievers, it would probably come at the expense of at least one of their starting pitchers. Morris would seem to be the most expendable at that point, but I'm not so sure Sabean would jump at the opportunity to deal him right now.

Whether it's through trade or whether it's mixing up the lineup some more, the Giants have to do something to jump start this offense. Say what you want about the bullpen, the reason why the Giants are struggling to stay at or above .500 is because of their light-hitting offense. Fred Lewis and Dan Ortmeier have helped. Ortmeier had his best game as a pro on Sunday and he did it from the right side of the plate. Lewis has raked righties so far, but lefties have given him trouble. I think those guys will work into a nice platoon in right field while Dave Roberts is out. It's the veterans that need to pick up the slack. Ray Durham, Rich Aurilia and Omar Vizquel have all underachieved so far this season, and those are 3 guys the Giants were counting on filling key spots in the lineup. I like how Bochy has showed he isn't afraid to play the young players and with Omar hitting .208 vs. lefties, I wouldn't mind seeing Kevin Frandsen given a few more starts at shortstop.
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  • At 12:25 PM, Anonymous JuTMSY4 said…

    Let's face it, when you look at that rotation, its pretty good and one of the best in the NL...Zito and Cain are good starters, especially in the NL, Lowry and Morris are above average (and you're right morris is playing ridiculous right now) and lincecum is a rook who throws some serious heat (not to be counted on but will get you some wins)...none of those guys really blows you away, but none of them are a guaranteed loss...there's not an easy day with the giants rotation...

    However, w/o Bonds the offense is suspect...It should have been addressed for the price they paid for zito...but what are you gonna do...

  • At 12:28 PM, Anonymous JuTMSY4 said…

    BTW, Good article, nice to see someone by the bay...

  • At 1:47 PM, Blogger TC said…

    Yes, the rotation as a whole is second to none in the NL right now. But even with Bonds the offense is suspect, Sabean could have done some things differently to improve both the pen and the offense this winter, no question about it.

    Cain and Lincecum certainly have the ability to "blow hitters away" but Lowry and Morris have succeeded due to there control so far.


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