PITTSBURGH -- The often overly analytical Charlie Morton will take the mound on Sunday with the goal of making the game simple. And in that simplicity, Morton hopes he can regain his aggressiveness.
The simple plan -- throw more fastballs.
Morton's last start was doomed by his unwillingness to rely heavily enough on his fastball, a pitch that, when working, is the right-hander's biggest weapon. But instead of relying on his strength, Morton spent last Sunday repeatedly shaking off catcher Ryan Doumit and then paying for the over-reliance on his offspeed pitches.
Morton will be working with catcher Chris Snyder in this next start, and he's been told to trust Snyder's game-calling ability and to trust his own ability. That seems simple enough, though it hasn't always been for Morton.
"I think it all stems from being aggressive and having the fastball mentality," Morton said. "I think it's easy to get away from that sometimes. Throwing a curveball and trying to get swings and misses, it's enticing. You get away from your game plan. I think the reality is that you get ahead with your fastball and you can still put people away with your fastball. I think mine is good enough to get outs."
The Pirates firmly believe his fastball is better than 'good enough.' The club pushed Morton's start back a day so the righty could have extra time working with pitching coach Ray Searage, whose mantra all week was to be aggressive.
Sunday will mark Morton's second start since being recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis. Morton lasted only 3 1/3 innings a week ago, allowing nine hits and eight earned runs in the outing. He is 1-10 with a 10.03 ERA in 11 starts this season.
"I know he's worked really hard," manager John Russell said. "I think he's going to be ready for it. We're hoping that he comes around and does some of the good things that we know Charlie is capable of doing."