No news on why Charlie Morton left the Astros game after one inning.
With the regular season coming to a close next Sunday, you hope that your team is healthy for October. The Astros have not clinched the AL West yet, but the magic number is down to five at the time of writing. Today, the Astros turned to Charlie Morton to get that all important win to get closer to clinching the division. Morton struggled in the first inning, but only allowed one run.
The offense came back and scored three runs in the bottom of the first inning behind Yuli Gurriel’s homer, and an Evan Gattis RBI hit. With Morton on the mound, you would think that the Astros would cruise to a victory. Instead, Framber Valdez came into the game in the top of the second inning. What was his injury?
Here is what we know.
According to Fangraphs, Morton throws his fastball at an average 95.7 miles per hour. This is the hardest that he has thrown the ball in his career. It has led to a 15-3 record with a 3.15 ERA while striking out 197 batters in 164 innings pitched. But the story is, many have reported that his velocity was down in the first inning. That normally means something is seriously wrong. Stats from Baseball-Reference.
Until we get an official notification, I’m not going to speculate too much. We were worried when Lance McCullers left that game, but it was only a forearm strain. He is set to make his return sometime this week on the road. Hopefully, the removal was precautionary, and he will still be ready for October. After all, it was the playoffs last year that gave him the “Charlie Freaking Morton” nickname from Alex Bregman.
Should Morton’s injury be bad, this will hurt the Astros in the postseason. McCullers is not stretched out enough to become a starter. Also, you won’t see Collin McHugh move to the rotation because of the same reason. At this point, you would have to pick between the youngest pitchers on this roster.
Josh James looked like he could make the roster as a hard-throwing reliever in the playoffs. Could he be that fourth starter in the playoffs? That’s a lot to ask for someone with only four appearances in the big leagues. However, he has drawn strong praise from many in the Astros organization, including Brian McCann.
Valdez could be another option. Let’s not stress over this too much at the moment, but it warrants every Astros fans’ attention. Here’s hoping that it is something minor, but remember that Morton is a free agent after the season. Let’s watch the Astros complete this series versus the Angels and think positive thoughts. We need CFM in the playoffs!
Check back for updates below:
Was also reminded on Twitter that Morton and his wife were expecting a baby any day now, so that could have been another reason. Thanks for the reminder.
According to Hunter Atkins, Morton left the game with right shoulder discomfort. While we all hate that word discomfort now, it is better that’s the shoulder versus the elbow. However, this was the same reasoning given the last time he hit the DL.
After the game, A.J. Hinch mentioned that he expects Morton to make his next start.