The Astros pitcher has been one of the league’s best since last postseason, but few know it.
Chances are, unless you’re a baseball fanatic or Houston Astros fan, the name Charlie Morton means nothing to you. Over the course of his career, he’s bounced around from Atlanta to Pittsburgh to Philadelphia, trying to find his place in the league. Now, after a World Series win with the Astros, it seems the 34-year-old has finally found a home with the defending champions.
Heading into the season, Morton began as Houston’s No. 5 pitcher in the starting rotation. On most occasions, that would sum up the rest of his career perfectly. But in this case, it’s a compliment. Not only is this Astros rotation the best in the league, it could be one of the best of all time, and that’s thanks in part to Morton. He’s a No. 5 guy who could very well be the ace in multiple destinations around the league at the moment.
When Morton took the mound on Monday to try and quiet the red-hot Yankees — winners of nine straight— he more than rose to the occasion. He took a no-hitter into the sixth inning and finished with an impressive stat line that doesn’t quite do his phenomenal start justice after the bullpen couldn’t do its job. The Astros got 7.2 quality innings out of Morton, who gave up one earned run on two hits, striking out 10 as the ‘Stros went on to win 2-1.
Through four starts this season, Morton is 4-0 with a 1.72 ERA. The World Series hero has been dominant dating back to last postseason. His most memorable outing coming in Game 7, where he closed out the game and brought Houston its first title. His four wins are tied for second in MLB and his 1.72 ERA is good for third in the AL. At one point, he led the AL in ERA.
Where did all of this come from? Well, nobody really knows. Throughout his career, he’s been a mediocre (at best) pitcher. His ERA has been as high as 7.57, and he’s lost 10 games in three seasons. However, Morton’s now 18-7 during his tenure with the Astros. Even though his game should be declining, Morton’s only getting better. Incredibly, he’s among the early season Cy Young candidates. Despite having a substandard career up to this point, it’s time Morton gets credit for his phenomenal recent form. Morton isn’t playing around anymore — he’s a quality starting pitcher.