Two games in and Toronto Blue Jays starter Brandon Morrow hasn't flipped anybody into the dirt or brushed back anyone. In fact, on Monday, he allowed that maybe a few folks misunderstood what he meant this winter with his now-famous quip about finding "a certain level of [testiness]that you need to really succeed."
"I'm not throwing at anybody," Morrow said after three lightning-fast innings against the Orioles – 33 pitches, 27 strikes and eight of 11 first-pitch strikes. "I'm talking about being aggressive with all your stuff."
Using his curveball and three change-ups, Morrow said that it might have been his most efficient three innings ever. He wasn't joking. "Change of speed … getting guys in front … more contact," Morrow said, rattling off the reasons for the pitch count.
"I plan to continue to get some quicker innings and outs. I left a couple of strikeouts out there, probably, and could have used my slider to get a strikeout on a few occasions. But I haven't used that, yet.
"I was getting it done, striking guys out. But 4½ (earned-run average) the last two years isn't what you want out of your No. 2 starter."
For manager John Farrell, it was some of the subtler points of Morrow's game that were impressive. A point of emphasis has been the amount of time it takes Morrow (and other Blue Jays pitchers) to deliver a pitch with men on base – his "unloading time," in Farrellspeak.
"There's a range of time," Farrell said. "Normally, you like to see it under 1.3 seconds. Today he was in the high one-teens, and has the ability to quick-pitch on occasion. So, it shows an awareness and an ability to control the running game."
Morrow's trying to channel his inner No. 2 starter. The rest can come later.