Jack Morris celebrated last week the 25th anniversary of his magical 10-inning complete-game shutout in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series. The former Twins star is one of just a few starting pitchers to throw an extra-inning shutout in the past two-plus decades of baseball and the last one to do it in October.
Relief pitching has played a much bigger role in the postseason since Morris’ glory days and it bothers the former hurler.
The Chicago Sun Times wrote “Morris shakes his head in disgust when he starts drawing comparisons between his playing days and today – especially what he has seen over the past week in this [World Series] series.”
None of the starting pitchers in this year's World Series have come near a complete game and only two starters have pitched six full innings. Corey Kluber threw six scoreless innings for Cleveland in the 6-0 Game 1 victory. Jon Lester threw six innings for Chicago in Sunday night’s 3-2 victory.
The bullpen has thrown 39 of the total 90 innings pitched through five games of the World Series.
“It’s such a different era,” Morris told the Sun Times. “It’s almost like pitchers become paranoid because any indication at all that there’s trouble, you’re going to get yanked. I just can’t stand that.
“I watched [the Cubs’ Kyle] Hendricks and [the Indians’ Josh] Tomlin [in Game 3] and they’re both pitching their tails off, and they’re both out of the game under five innings, when they should have never been gone.”
Hendricks left Friday’s game after just 4 1/3 innings of scoreless baseball. He had six strikeouts and gave up six hits and two walks. Tomlin lasted just one more out than Hendricks, leaving the game after 4 2/3 innings with no runs allowed, two hits, one walk and a strikeout.
Kluber had struck out nine, walked none and gave up just four hits before being pulled in Game 1.
Morris, who is working the World Series as a broadcaster for MLB, averaged 7-plus innings in seven World Series starts, including three complete games, with three different teams.
“It’s all about the relievers,” Morris said. “Starters really don’t have any glory in the postseason anymore.”
Well, maybe not glory like this: