The Rays will turn to right-hander Charlie Morton to start tomorrow afternoon’s ALCS Game 2 against the Astros, per Juan Toribio of MLB.com. Manager Kevin Cash indicated earlier today (via Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times) that this would be the likely course of action, but Tampa Bay held off on making the announcement official until speaking with Morton before tonight’s game. The veteran was forced to warm up in the bullpen during Friday’s ALDS Game 5 against the Yankees; fortunately, reliever Diego Castillo locked down a 2-1 victory without necessitating Blake Snell or Morton come into the game.
Morton getting the ball tomorrow hardly comes as a surprise. Snell will start tonight, while fellow high-end starter Tyler Glasnow started on Friday. Morton, 36, only posted a 4.74 ERA in 38 innings this season. He was plagued by a .355 opponents’ BABIP, though, and his strikeout (24.7%) and walk (5.9%) rates remained strong.
Morton will be a challenging task for a Houston lineup quite familiar with him. The veteran pitched for the Astros from 2017-18, famously slamming the door out of the bullpen in Game 7 of the 2017 World Series. The Astros will counter with Lance McCullers, Jr., who actually started that Fall Classic clincher against the Dodgers.