By: Mike Vukovcan

Pittsburgh (KDKA)- Following last night’s loss to the Baltimore Orioles, the talk in the Pirates clubhouse was about starter Charlie Morton.

What’s wrong with Morton? Has the league figured him out? Is he injured?

Manager Clint Hurdle seemed to have a simple explanation for why Morton is struggling.

The right-hander just might be tired.

Last night was Morton’s 14th start of the season and the 86th inning that he’s pitched.

Morton is well on his way to already surpassing his career high of innings pitched.

2008 Atlanta- 74.2 Innings
2009 Atlanta/Pittsburgh- 97 Innings (Career high in the majors)
2010 Pittsburgh- 79.2 Innings
2011 Pittsburgh- 86 Innings (3.5 months left in the season)

*Morton’s career high in the minors was during the 2005 season (124 innings/Single A Rome)

During his postgame press conference, Hurdle hinted that the team might have Morton skip his next start or two. That would make sense considering the All-Star break is approaching.

That seems to be a good strategy considering how Morton has been in his last 5 starts.

Morton’s Last 5 Starts:
Last Night: 2 IP, 8 H, 6 ER
Houston: 5 IP, 9 H, 3 ER
NY Mets: 4 IP, 9 H, 6 ER
Philadelphia: 7 IP, 6 H, 2 ER
NY Mets: 6 IP, 11 H, 1 ER

Last 5 Starts: 24 Innings pitched, 43 Hits, 18 Earned Runs (6.75 ERA)

If the team decides to rest Morton, RHP Brad Lincoln would seem to be the obvious choice to get recalled from AAA Indianapolis.

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