The Astros get to see an old teammate in a different uniform on Friday, and, no, I do want Houston to lose as a way to thank the former player for his contributions. That’s just not right.
Last season, the Astros had one of the best starting rotations in baseball. The staff led the majors, by a large margin, in both ERA (3.11) and WAR (29.4). It was also a staff that only used five starters all the way until early August. For any team in today’s baseball, that was an impressive accomplishment.
However, all good things must come to an end, sooner or later. We found out this offseason as Lance McCullers Jr. went under the knife for Tommy John surgery, Dallas Keuchel is still trekking the wilderness known as free agency, and Charlie Morton signed with the Rays.
Oh, look, the Astros are playing the Rays right now. If I check the schedule…well, yes, Morton is scheduled to start Game 2 of the season against the Astros. Gerrit Cole, one of the two aces on Houston’s staff, is also scheduled to start. What a time to be alive.
In all seriousness, Friday’s game between the Astros and Rays is only one of 162. Even if Morton beats his former club, it likely doesn’t alter the Astros season by much. That said, it is also going to be strange to see Morton in the opposite dugout. In another uniform. Pitching for another team. Um, yeah, this may take some time to get to use to, especially after I re-watch the clip below from the 2017 World Series.
Hey, who started cutting onions up in here?
Isn’t kind of odd that we celebrate a pitchers matchup, although they don’t directly interact with each other? Not saying I care, but it is worth pointing out. Anyway, this game will mean something to the Astros and their fans. Presumably it will also mean something to the Rays and their fans, but not in the same way. Morton was a key part of the club for the last two seasons. He definitely left his mark in Houston.
Now, what should we expect? I am not sure as baseball can be crazy and everything. But I am hoping for a decent pitching duel from two starters who have a history of success in this league. Cole has the higher upside, but one should not count out Morton. I wish the latter luck this season just as long as his success doesn’t interfere with the Astros. Hey, my fandom is strong.