As Ric Flair used to say “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times, that is just not going to happen. Woooooooo!!!”

There was no way the Tampa Bay Rays could be fooled three times in one season, could they? First it was Dallas Braden. Then it was Edwin Jackson.

Then on Sunday, Toronto Blue Jays righty Brandon Morrow was attempting to become the third pitcher to pitch a no-hitter against the Rays this season. With two outs and a runner on first in the bottom of the ninth, Morrow was one out away with the Rays’ Evan Longoria coming to the plate.


Morrow was nearly unhittable on Sunday

On a 1-1 count, Longoria hit a little dribbler between first and second for a clean single to break up the no-hitter. There was nothing second baseman Aaron Hill could do on the play. He was shaded up the middle as he should have been. 28.7 percent of Longoria’s AB’s have ended with a ball in play to the left side of the field.

Not only did Longoria break up the no-hitter, but now the Rays had 1st and 3rd with two outs and the score was only 1-0 Blue Jays. Morrow would not be deterred as he whiffed Dan Johnson to send the game.

The story of this game wasn’t the fact that the Rays were almost no-hit for the third time this season, it was Morrow. We saw the best of Morrow on Sunday afternoon.

The final line for Morrow: 9 IP 1 H 0 R 2 BB 17 K’s 137 pitches.

Morrow was dominant from the very beginning as he struck out the side in the first and he never stopped from there. He struck out 17 Rays and the big reason was his slider.

Morrow’s slider was off the charts good on Sunday.

He had movement on his slider like Mike Scott used to have on his splitter in 1986. I know some people reading this might not understand the Scott of 86′ reference, but trust me, his splitter that year was an unhittable pitch.

Morrow threw his splitter 38 times on Sunday and 29 of those sliders were good for strikes. Out of those 29 sliders, Rays’ batters swung and missed 26 percent of the time. That is a lot and shows how dominant Morrow’s slider was on Sunday.

Here is Morrow’s speed x vertical movement chart from Sunday courtesy of PitchFx:

The yellow plots are sliders and you can see the downward movement on those pitches. They were really unhittable.

Of course, a lot of people will talk about Morrow’s high pitch count in this game. Morrow threw 137 pitches over the course of nine innings.

If Morrow threw 137 pitches over six or seven innings, then I could see an issue. But 15.2 pitches an inning over nine innings is no great shakes.

The Blue Jays acquired Morrow from the Seattle Mariners in the off-season for Brandon League. That trade is looking worse and worse for the Mariners by the day.

On Sunday, we saw the best of Morrow.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

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