It has been an interesting start for the Houston Astros so far. As of the day I’m writing this (Tuesday Night), the Astros are currently 4-4.
The lineup has been a hot mess, while the starting rotation has been excellent so far, basically the opposite of what I figured would happen before the season.
Obviously it would be silly for me to determine that this is what is going to happen the rest of the season, but as of now, I am going to stay away from writing about the lineup until there is a larger sample size and because I don’t want to pull my hair out of my head out of frustration.
With that being said, there is still some good things to write about, and one of those things has been the performance of Charlie Morton.
In two performances so far, both against the Mariners, he was pretty solid. In his first start, he went 6 innings, 5 hits, 2 ER, 1 HR, 2 BB, and 4 strikeouts. He didn’t give up too much damage, but he allowed a runner every inning except his last, and gave up a two run homer.
There was a runner in scoring position in three of his six innings, not including the inning where he gave up the home run, and to be fair, on of those runners in scoring position came of off a stolen base.
At the end of the day, he had a quality start. He limited damage, and he gave the offense the opportunity to win the game (Fortunately they did, in extra innings, due to Springer’s walk-off homer run).
Moving to the second start, he went 5 innings, gave up 7 hits, had 3 ER, 2 BB, and 6 strikeouts. Following the same theme in the first start, he put himself in positions with runners in scoring position.
In the 4th inning, he put himself in a bases loaded, 0 out situation. He managed to go strikeout, strikeout, flyout to get himself out of the inning unscathed. In the 5th inning though, it did not work out as well.
With a men on second and third, with one out, the Astros put Cano on-base, something I will always disagree with. The idea was to have the opportunity at the end of the day, but still, you give the other team a free base-runner, and in this scenario that runner would score. So Morton is responsible for that run also, and he ends the day with 3 ER.
After seeing both these starts, there are things to be happy with, and some things that aren’t as good. Starting off with the bad, he didn’t give up as many ground balls as he typically would. After two starts, he has a 44.1% GB%.
He has not given up a lot of soft contact, and more hard contact than Astros fans would like. Moving to better things, Morton has done a good job limiting damage. On the flip side of that though, he is still putting himself in positions to where he has to limit the damage. The one thing to really be happy with is his velocity increase. He is working around an average of 95 MPH with his fastball, a speed he has never had in his career.
Overall, I am pretty happy with Morton. He could’ve been better, but he was still pretty good. The velocity is there to be happy with going forward, and I expect him to give up more ground balls in the future.
Once again, all of this is a small sample size, so no one can come to conclusions and be sure about something after these two starts, but for Astros fans, there is a lot to like.