Taking a Look at Morton’s Pitch Location
Obviously, Charlie Morton leaned heavily on his sinker last night in St. Louis. According to Brooks Baseball, 68 of his 94 pitches were sinkers (Brooks officially labels them as two-seam fastballs). The pitch was effective, with 15 of 18 balls in play ending up on the ground. The Cardinals were unable to do much with the sinker, so Morton just kept serving it up. In addition to leaning heavily on one pitch type, Morton also focused on one side of the plate. He repeatedly pounded the arm-side portion of the zone (right side of the zone from the pitcher’s viewpoint, left side from the catcher’s perspective). That did not change, whether he was facing a left-handed batter or a right-handed batter. Morton pounded righties in on the hands, and worked mostly away from lefties.
Here is a look at Morton’s pitch locations last night, courtesy of Brooks Baseball. These are from the catcher’s point of view, and the blue squares represent Morton’s sinker. You can see this chart broken down by lefty/righty here.
Morton’s sinker breaks sharply in on right-handed batters and away from lefties. As you can see in this chart, he was almost exclusively starting the sinker over the plate and allowing it to break out of the zone (or almost out of the zone). That is probably the best game plan, but I wonder if Morton will need to mix it up somewhat in the future. If opposing hitters make an adjustment, that may be necessary. Of course, until opponents start hitting the ball out of the infield, there is little reason to change anything.