Charlie Morton beat the Astros for Tampa Bay rays in Game 3 of last year’s AL Division Series after getting the win for Houston in Game 7 of the 2017 World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. As he begins Game 2 of the AL Championship Series at Petco Park with the Rays leading 1-0, Morton again faces his former team. “He said Sunday,” I would rather not worry about it, just keep even keeled and scout them and go about my business on the mound. “And you can be pals with people off the field.”
Early in his career, the 36-year-old righty spent several seasons pitching for Pittsburgh. He later remembered Josh Harrison, Neil Walker, and Andrew McCutchen facing Pirates players.
“It is odd,” he said. I do not think you will ever be able to really get used to it, to pitching against people you are close to. So it is just one of those things that every now and then you just have to deal with.
Tampa Bay rays: Morton hopes that next year he will be able to pitch. He is not sure how much demand there will be for him in what is likely to be a tough free-agent market if Tampa Bay declines his $15 million option. He regrets being unable to visit teammates in the clubhouse this year with his 7- and 3-year-old sons and 6- and 2-year-old daughters and wonders whether the coronavirus will be properly overcome for a more normal 2021.
“I did not want this to be the last memory I had of the game on a selfish level, of the way it had to go with testing, isolation, not really being able to enjoy special moments in the clubhouse,” he said. “It was sort of sterilized.”
For the Astros, Lance McCullers Jr. is scheduled to start Game 2. When pitching in the same game, Morton and McCullers have enjoyed a lot of success, though on the same side.
Morton got the win, and when the Astros beat the Yankees in Game 7 of the 2017 ALCS, McCullers earned the save. Then McCullers started Game 7 in the World Series and Morton wound up with the win.