(If you don't know what that refers to, you need to read more John Lott)
By now you know, unless you were on a wilderness hike or something, what Brandon Morrow did this afternoon to the Rays.
For the second day in a row, the Blue Jays gave their fans as much to fall in love with as any Yankee or Red Sox team ever has (at least during a regular season game). If anyone had been uncertain that Brandon Morrow was maturing into an ace this year (and i recall seeing some comments about how he'd "regressed since June" in some quarters) this should ease your mind of doubt. A future with him and Romero 1/2 is bright indeed, before you even look further.
To gush with superlative descriptions of today's performance is entirely unnecessary and futile - if you saw it, no words can add to it, if you didn't, words can't do it justice (I didn't see it by the way - such is the curse of being hundreds of miles away from anyone else who cares). so rather than just sit here and droll (and softly curse the day Evan Longoria was born) let me turn my attention to the most active debateable point of today's game - the pitch count.
Already the whining - from Kieth Law on Twitter right down to the peanut gallery on DJF, is hand-wringing about Morrow reaching 137 pitches this afternoon. Especially about him staying in for the last out. The last at bat took what, eight pitches? what's 8 more going to do that 129 didn't? Morrow doesn't have a history of being fragile, he doesn't have a history of being abused, he's already been strung out at least once this year to go gentle on his IP, and he has an extra days rest already before the next start.
One thing that I notice among passionate fans on-line is that a certain percentage are always trying to be the smartest guy in the room. Now, let me clarify that - anyone who writes a blog at a minimum, and most who post on any sort of forum, like to think they have some insight to share with the world that makes there remarks worth reading, that's not the sort of "trying to be smart" I mean. I mean the sort who always seems to take the negative view in opposition to whatever the majority thinks. Like the guy who looks at an upcoming season which most fans think has a lot of promise and starts describing the worst case scenario for each player while confidently predicting 90 loses. If they DO tank, he can crow - if they don't, he gets to enjoy the wins with the rest of us. And likely very few remember how negative he was.
Likewise, those whining now about Morrow will cite this game if 3 or 4 years from now he needs surgery, but if he continues without major injury in a jays uniform, no one will ever look back and point out "I remember when you said the jays would pay dearly for leaving Morrow in that one game." it's basically a free ticket to try to show yourself more clever than everyone else.
Look, I'm as big a critic of Cito as almost anyone, but in his shoes I would absolutely have let Morrow try to get Johnson. That was HIS game - to win or lose. Yes Cito has a long-standing and well-earned reputation for letting his pitchers go one batter too long in terms of the game situation, so in the sense that Morrow might have yielded the tying or go-ahead run in that at bat, sure - but Morrow deserved the chance to be the man who controlled that destiny.
But as far as the "shredding a young arm" argument - I'm not buying it. If Morrow had been gassed or something, he'd have understood being pulled - but I do not think that the difference in 129 and 137 is a career changer. Morrow is 26, and has remarkably few innings on his arm for a guy that age. either you set a cap (and where would that be? 110? 120?) and NEVER exceed it, even for an ongoing ho-hitter, or you use your best judgment.
Cito did the right thing today.
Edit to add: I'll give the critics ONE point - Morrow is a diabetic. That is a legitimate counterpoint to what i just said, but the only one I see.