Houston Astros vs Yankees ALCS G3: Don’t put loss on Charlie Morton

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 16: Charlie Morton
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 16: Charlie Morton /

The Houston Astros failed miserably to grab a foothold in the unfriendly confines of Yankee Stadium but fans shouldn’t place the blame for this 8-1 loss on Charlie Morton.

The Houston Astros fell in unspectacular fashion to the New York Yankees in the home opener for the opponent this series.  There was a lot of excitement building up to the start of the game with talks of this team even flirting with the word “sweep” in some whispers in Houston Astros chatter.  Well, maybe it was just me that was doing most of the whispering.

But Charlie Morton got the nod to take the bump for Game 3 and things started out quite well for him.  He was tactical with his pitches and he was even able to successfully strike out Aaron Judge with his first at-bat.  He used his cutter, slider, fastball and whatever it took to finish off his opponents.

But the deck started to stack up against while the Yanks started to rack up unbelievable on Morton, stacking up the bases and making him work a bit harder.  Todd Frazier created the first wave of destruction with off a line drive homer to right-center field at the bottom of the 2nd.  Starlin Castro and Aaron Hicks were already on base, putting the Yanks up 3-0.

Chase Headley then took a turn by singling out to Jose Altuve at the bottom of the 4th, who had trouble controlling his turn to try to get him out.  This was off a Morton cutter that scored Greg Bird and moved Frazier up to 2nd.

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With that situation on hand, A.J. Hinch decided to pull Morton in favor of Will Harris who subsequently threw a wild pitch, having Evan Gattis roam around to find the ball giving the opportunity for Frazier to score.

To make things worse, Harris used his four-seam and gave Aaron Judge just enough to send that ball smoking into left field, sending Headley and Brett Gardner in to make it a three-run homer.

By then, the damage was done and Hinch turned to Collin McHugh who closed out the game wonderfully, collecting three strikeouts, one walk with no earned runs through the final four innings of the game.  He certainly earned his late playoff roster add tonight.  McHugh put up 53 pitches to 33 strikes.

Morton finished with a line of three strikeouts, seven earned runs, six hits, two walks and one home run through 3.2 innings pitched.  He threw 72 pitches to 45 strikes.

The game tells a much different story than the stat line and Morton should in no way take the full blame for this.  Sometimes in baseball, things like this happen than one can’t always explain and it certainly didn’t help that the Houston Astros were a combined 4-for-31 from the plate tonight.

Plus a lot of the Yankees’ batters were nibbling away at the edges of the strike zone and they struck gold with the hits that they were able to make.

And not to mention that Cameron Maybin didn’t lay himself out to catch that fly ball out to left that turned out to be a Greg Bird double. That made the 4th be a lot longer than it should have been.

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C.C. Sabathia is no pushover even at 37-years-old and certainly pitched a great game against us, tossing five strikeouts, four walks in three hits through 6.0 innings of work.

But the Astros will do it again tomorrow in Game 4 with the starting pitcher yet to be named.  I think it’s likely going to be Brad Peacock.

Let’s bounce back — go Astros!