“This is my depressed stance. When you're depressed, it makes a lot of difference how you stand. The worst thing you can do is straighten up and hold your head high because then you'll start to feel better. If you're going to get any joy out of being depressed, you've got to stand like this.” -- Charlie Brown, PeanutsLast season, this is how I felt about former Braves pitcher Charlie Morton. He looked so lost and frustrated out on that mound, and spent extended time in the Pirates minor league system after being hampered by injury. It hurt my heart. I LOVED Charlie. I was in Boston visiting a friend when I heard the news of Charlie's trade, Tom Glavine's release, and birthday buddy Jordan Schafer's demotion. But no more agonizing over Charlie any longer.
Our Charlie Morton is in what the Blue Jays call "Beast Mode." Oh, yes, he is. The Pirates pitching coaches have completely restructured the way that he pitches, and are rumored to have modeled his sinker after... wait for it... Harry LeRoy Halladay III. You may know him as Doc, the ace of the rotation of aces that the Philadelphia Phillies have put together.
Back to Charlie. After last season, it seemed as though poor Charlie was destined to be a mediocre or average pitcher for one of the worst teams in Major League Baseball. But then came the 2011 season. In 8 games started, Charlie Morton holds a record of 5 wins and 1 loss, with an ERA of 2.62, a WHIP of 1.309, with 2 complete games, 1 of which was a shutout. Wow. WOW. For comparison, his stats from his dismal 2010 season are: 17 GS, 7.57 ERA, 1.732 WHIP. His Atlanta stats are only a little better (but I still loooooooved him anyway).
In the first quarter of the 2011 season, Charlie Morton has pitched his 2nd and 3rd career complete games. This 3rd career CG is also his 2nd career complete game shutout pitched yesterday, May 18, 2011. (His first was on September 30, 2009, against the Cubs, where he beat Ted Lilly.) Both of Charlie's complete games of the 2011season were against the Cincinnati Reds. Yes, you read that correctly, the Cincinnati Reds, home of Scott Rolen, Brandon Phillips, and Joey Votto. Pirates fans call Charlie Morton's repertoire "Electric Stuff" and it's easy to see why. He's turned everything around, and if he's emulating one of the best pitchers in the game today? Well. I think you can see why I love him even more now.
Way to go, Charlie! No more Charlie Brown style hanging of the head for you! We miss you and your dimples in Atlanta, Charlie, and we are so glad to see you do well. I, for one (and Lauren, as well, I'm certain), cannot wait to see you back in Turner Field with MattE Diaz! ♥
Links about how awesome Charlie is: