DENVER -- Phillies starter Adam Morgan was hit hard in a spot start Thursday night, and the lefty lost the game and then lost his spot on the roster after an 11-2 loss to the Rockies (see Instant Replay).
Morgan was optioned to Triple A Lehigh Valley. He was given that news in a 35-minute, closed-door meeting with manager Pete Mackanin and pitching coach Bob McClure in the manager's office.
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“I feel like it was a good conversation,” said Morgan, who gave up nine hits, including three homers, and six runs in five innings. “They shot me straight, which is all that you can ask for as a player. But it was good. It was the truth, and I needed to hear it.
“I can only go up from here. I've been making a lot of mistakes, and I haven't been making excuses, but I need to get better.”
Morgan is 1-7 with a 6.65 ERA in 14 games, 12 starts, and has allowed 16 home runs in 66⅓ innings. Filling in for Aaron Nola, who was given a breather before the All-Star break, Morgan gave up a run-scoring double to Nolan Arenado in the first, a home run to Mark Reynolds leading off the second and a three-run homer to Trevor Story in the third that gave the Rockies a 5-1 lead.
Ryan Howard, who homered in the second, singled home a run in the fourth. But the Rockies blew the game open with a five-run seventh when they strafed rookie Edubray Ramos for four hits and five runs to turn the game into a rout and pave the way for Morgan's long post-game meeting.
“McClure and I really like this guy,” Mackanin said. “We know he's a fighter and how much it means to him. He's sincere and dedicated. He's a very likeable guy and try to give him as much positive reinforcement but at the same time let him know what he needs to do to become successful.”
Mackanin said Morgan will start at Lehigh Valley so he can get regular, predictable work, which wouldn't be the case if he were pitch in long relief.
“He's up in the zone too much,” Mackanin said. “Like we told him, half the battle is throwing strikes. And he certainly throws a lot of strikes. He's just got to throw more quality strikes.”
“I need to get the ball down. You get the ball down, you minimize the damage,” Morgan, who threw strikes with 60 of his 84 pitches against the Rockies, said.
Standing at his locker in the mostly empty Phillies clubhouse, Morgan was asked if his confidence was shaken.
“A little bit,” he said. “But to me lately, it hasn't been fine. I've been putting a lot of pressure on myself and this break coming up I feel like will be good. And also going down there and being able to work on things and not feel so much pressure — like I say, it can only go up from here.”