Talk about a career rejuvenation. Charlie Morton was labeled a "priority signing" by Houston last offseason after showing surprising fastball velocity gains (to go with wicked curveball spin) in a small sample with Philadelphia in 2016. As it turned out, those gains were no fluke, as Morton gave the Astros nearly 150 quality innings during the regular season and then played a crucial role in the postseason, even earning the win in Game 7 of the World Series. What was once Morton's biggest weakness -- getting lefty batters out -- turned into one of his greatest strengths, with Morton posting the second-lowest wOBA against lefties by a righty starter, per FanGraphs. He's given something back in the groundball department, but the added strikeouts (10.0 K/9) more than make up for it. It's unwise to expect him to add to his 2017 workload, but this new version of Morton can make a fantasy impact even with limited innings. Plus, the era of the workhorse starter is over anyway.
Morton will toe the rubber against the Dodgers for Game 4 of the World Series on Saturday, Brian McTaggart of MLB.com reports. Morton will follow Lance McCullers in the Astros' rotation after conjuring up a brilliant performance against the Yankees in Saturday's Game 7. During that outing, Morton threw a five-inning shutout, allowing just three baserunners while striking out five to help the club reach the World Series. The Dodgers haven't confirmed their starter for Game 4 as of yet, but Morton will likely face off against 26-year-old Alex Wood.
Morton will take the mound for Game 7 of the ALCS against the Yankees on Saturday, Brian McTaggart of MLB.com reports. Morton was knocked around by the Yankees in Game 3 of the series, but manager A.J. Hinch believes it was a bout with bad luck and that the 33-year-old can pull through on regular rest. He will once again oppose CC Sabathia -- who bested him in Game 3 -- in the series-deciding Game 7 tilt.
Morton will take the hill for Game 3 of the ALCS in Yankee Stadium on Monday, Richard Justice of MLB.com reports. Morton will follow Dallas Keuchel and Justin Verlander, respectively, in the Astros' rotation for the series against New York. He will be coming off six days of rest after starting in Boston on Monday. During that game, Morton allowed two earned runs off seven hits and two walks over 4.1 innings.
Morton (14-7) allowed two runs on four hits while striking out four over 5.1 innings in Friday's 3-2 win over the Red Sox. Morton, who triggered a $625,000 bonus in his contract by making his 25th start of the season, was dominant early, much like he's been in many of his previous 24 starts. He retired the first 13 batters before his perfect game was broken up by a Mitch Moreland double in the fifth inning. When the right-hander ran into trouble, the Astros bullpen picked him up. Morton finished the regular season with a 3.62 ERA, a 1.19 WHIP and a 10.0 K/9, seemingly solidifying his spot in the rotation for the postseason.
Morton (13-7) allowed one run on four hits and one walk while striking out five across seven innings to earn the win Saturday against the Angels. Morton fired six shutout innings before allowing a solo homer in the seventh inning, but the offense had already provided him with a five-run lead, and he was easily able to cruise to his 13th victory of the season. He's been hot throughout the month of September, as he's allowed just six earned runs over four starts to lower his ERA from 3.88 to 3.63, and he's been an excellent source of fantasy production down the stretch. He'll make his next start Thursday against the Red Sox.