Brandon Morrow: “I’d Rather Look at the Nerd Stats.”

Me too, Mr. Morrow. Me too.

The most excellent quote comes to us from Seattle’s The News Tribune, via the foul-mouthed, but always informative, Drunk Jays Fans. Here’s another:

Some of those [2011] numbers don’t look so hot, but if you look at the nerd stats, I’m having a pretty good year. I’m not always sure how they come to those conclusions, but I like them.

Again: Me too. Math is crazy. And I can’t help but wonder whether Morrow knows he scores a perfect 10 according to the most recent Pitcher NERD Leaderboards of Pleasure.

I can picture Morrow, though, almost vividly, in his downtown Toronto condo, on his laptop, perusing

“Honey, guess whose FIP is now under 3.00, and good for sixth in the American League? Beast mode! And, whoa, my SIERA’s third in the AL, behind only Verlander and Sabathia. Double beast mode!”

Brandon Morrow is one of those guys with electric “stuff.” Now, I don’t know about you, but I love that the word “stuff,” so banal, is used to describe a pitcher who throws a baseball a remarkable number of which ways, who makes a baseball dance, who strikes out the most batters per nine innings in all of the game. But more than just his “stuff,” Morrow, as evidenced, is a highly educated man. He’s like me, like you, like us. He appreciates advanced baseball statistics. He’s a nerd. Brandon Morrow is the thinking man’s A.J. Burnett.

Having been able to watch Morrow take the mound over the past year and a half as a starting pitcher has been a blessed experience. Sure, we miss Brandon League in Toronto, especially when the Blue Jays’ bullpen implodes, often in utterly spectacular fashion, at least once a week. But Morrow, man, that “stuff.” There’s a no-hitter in his future. I feel like it’s almost guaranteed. Only a matter of time. And lord knows we’re due for another one up here.

Wednesday night, the Blue Jays in Seattle, I was thinking no-hitter two hitless innings into Morrow’s start. Actually, if I can be completely honest, based on the fact it was Morrow versus the Mariners, and an Ichiro I hardly recognize, I was thinking no-no before the game even began. Now, and this might come off a bit twisted, I was almost relieved when Seattle’s Mike Carp singled in the fourth inning to end Morrow’s no-hit bid. Not that I didn’t want Morrow to get it, of course not, but I was at the gym late Wednesday night, on a stationary bike, and following the game on my mobile. I had every intention to ask GoodLife Fitness employee Lisa to pretty, pretty please put the game on one of the TVs, but as I walked in at 10:30 pm, she looked, well, first and foremost, like she didn’t want to be there, and that she hated her life, and her job, more than she’d ever hated her life and her job before. I wanted to ask her to put on The Brandon Morrow Show, I really did, instead of asking her how her puppy had perished, but I couldn’t. It felt wrong to do so. Even though Morrow, through two innings, was dealing. I took the towel she handed me, and didn’t say a word.

So, while tying the laces of my running shoes in the change room, I devised a plan: I’d follow Morrow’s outing on my iPhone. If he got through six innings with the no-hitter still intact, I’d leave, race home. Once I learned of Carp’s single, I exhaled. I put my phone away. It’s stressful, man, watching a potential no-hitter. The heart races. Especially on a goddamn stationary bike. And Blue Jays starters often tease. Last August, when Morrow was an out away from history against the Tampa Bay Rays, I found myself sitting on my knees in front of my television, hands clasped together, nervous, so damn nervous. Logic had gone out the window at that point. I mean, Morrow had struck out 16. I’ll be honest: I was praying. To the Baseball Gods, I guess, but I was praying. And I sat on my knees, slumped, exactly like Aaron Hill at second base, incredulous, after Evan Longoria put a single just past him.

Brandon Morrow’s next start is Tuesday, at home in Toronto, against the Kansas City Royals. That could be the night.

Image courtesy Flickr user marlene*.

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Navin Vaswani is a replacement-level writer. Follow him on Twitter.

20 Responses to “Brandon Morrow: “I’d Rather Look at the Nerd Stats.””

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  1. Josh says:

    Brandon Morrow is the Ricky Nolasco of the AL.

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    • Pat says:

      Yeah, but light years better. He actually has a MLB caliber fastball, and one of the best fastballs in the league. Not sure why the results aren’t there.

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  2. Yirmiyahu says:

    Worth noting that you don’t even have to get that nerdy to appreciate Morrow’s year. .230/.304/.351/.655 batting against. He’s basically just allowing baserunners in bunches.

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    • vivalajeter says:

      “He’s basically just allowing baserunners in bunches.”

      Isn’t that normal for someone who pitches much better out of the wind-up than the stretch? His xFIP is almost a run higher from the stretch, his BAA is 60 points higher and his HR rate doubles. Seems to me like he’s the type of pitcher who can have a 1-2-3 inning pretty often, but as soon as someone’s on base he’s simply not as good.

      I’d imagine most pitchers are worse out of the stretch, but he might be a little worse off than the typical pitcher.

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      • R M says:

        Uhh….isn’t someone’s ERA with guys on base going to be worse than ERA with bases empty? Doesn’t that explain why he pitches worse from the stretch?

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  3. Colin says:

    Ouch! Little harsh on Lisa….

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  4. Dr says:


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  5. 25th_Hour says:

    I say we go to the game on Tuesday and watch the no no in person.

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  6. Greg W says:

    Morrow is the guy you want it all to line up for. Romero is the bulldog, ripping and tearing his way through every start, max effort, he’s WORKING, and its great.

    A couple of days later its B. Morrow. He’s like a concert pianist, calm, poised, still very focused. And then the lights come up and there are rockets coming out of his hands. 97, 98, 95MPH. A quick 90mph slider, go have a seat, sir, and think about where that baseball was that you were trying to hit.

    Morrow is the anti-Stieb. The un-Lackey. Stuff happens, he loads up again and fires away.

    And on twitter, the dry wit you hear about in the clubhouse comes through. After a very long wait on the tarmac, RickyRo and Joeybats and 2Morrow23 are answering questions and re-tweeting rapid fire. “What was your first appearance like in the majors?” Morrow: “I’m not sure, I think I blacked out.” and then, just as the twitter session ends he begs Ricky for a retweet. Who wouldn’t want a retweet from Ricky Romero?

    So, yes, I think I understand how Morrow might be in ‘real life’. At least, a lot more than I understand 90 percent of the athletes in the spotlight.

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  7. Tommy Lasordas Pasta says:

    I feel the same thing every time Clayton Kershaw pitches. He’s got “stuff”.

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  8. Jon says:

    Brandon Morrow is sweet but Ricky Romero is da bomb

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  9. “He’s a thinking man’s A.J. Burnett.”


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  10. zurd says:

    The News Tribune is in fact in Tacoma, an unimportant and foul-smelling city to Seattle’s south.

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  11. My echo and bunnymen (Dodgers Fan) says:

    Brandon Morrow has made me nervous twice before, once rooting for him and once rooting against. I believe this year on August 6th (Brian Matusz bobblehead night if wrong date) at Oriole Park at Camden Yards he pitched well but eventually allowed a few runs. He’s exciting to watch in person and when I saw him at the Roger for Roberto Alomar bobblehead night (July 31st?) he pitched well then.

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  12. Kirk Reuter says:

    Not sure what the big deal is fellas…

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