Houston Astros: How Charlie Morton carved out his finest career moment

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 01: Charlie Morton
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 01: Charlie Morton /

The Houston Astros are your 2017 World Series Champs and it was Charlie Morton that was on the bump when the clinch occurred.  This was a defining career moment for him and it will never be the same again.

How does this feel to admit this Houston Astros fans? We’re World Series champs!  A drought that had lasted more than two decades out of the Big 3 pro sports repositories is now finally over.  It’s as shocking to me as I’m sure it was to you that we’ve reached this point.

I knew we were going to have a great season just based off of where we started but the World Series clinch is an absolutely different animal that can’t always be tamed with the tools one has.  But luckily things worked out and the Houston Astros were able to defy many naysayers to seize this unique opportunity, having to go through three of America’s past time’s most storied franchises in the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Each of the franchises combine for $526.6 billion in payroll compared to the Houston Astros modest $85.8 million which is just a mere 16.2 percent of the three aforementioned franchise’s spending combined.

But now those figures have been brought to light, let’s talk about a guy that I didn’t envision being the clutch pitcher that he was in the playoffs.  Yes, I’m talking about Charlie Morton, a guy that I expected to have make little impact on this roster.  I’ll be the first to admit that he has proven me wrong and he’s not a guy that just chews up innings but can really be counted to get guys out when he’s needed the most.

How did you expect me to feel after Morton just coming off hamstring surgery when he was with the Philadelphia Phillies?  I thought it could be an issue but the only concern was his shoulder but that issue was corrected in the latter half of the season and he was fine as a starter from that point on.

But I saw the value of Morton as how Jeff Luhnow would’ve viewed it from his perspective.  Just like Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann, his best moments that preceded him were going to be in playoffs to which that rung true.

Just how Morton did it?  He reinvented himself and Alex Kirshner of SB Nation alludes to this in his recent piece that he put up for view.

The 33-year-old finished the season with a 14-7 record, a 3.62 ERA, 163 strikeouts with a 1.193 WHIP through 146.2 innings pitched in 25 starts.  However, it was the World Series where he shined the most.  In the Fall Classic, he posted a 1.74 ERA, 11 strikeouts, a 0.581 WHIP, a 9.6 K/9 through 10.1 innings pitched, including a start for Game 4.

Pitch-after-pitch using his his sinker, his curve or his signature four-seam fastball, he was able to work quickly through the lineup with minimal effect to his arm fatigue because of him being so tactful with his pitches.  It also helps that McCann was catching him because after what we’ve saw out of him, it goes to show why he will go down as one of the best of the business.

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Other than a botched start in the 2015 NLDS against the St. Louis Cardinals, Morton had never been in the spotlight with as big of stage as this one.  He reveled in the moment and wanted to prove to many doubters that he belongs in this league as a professional.  And you know what?  Ditto, Charlie, ditto…there will always be people who don’t want you succeed but if you believe in yourself, that’s what matters.

That’s exactly what he did.  It certainly helps that he had a talented infield of Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Carlos Correa and Yuli Gurriel but a lot of those strikes he was throwing were his own as result of his expansive repertoire of pitches that he has.

Next: THREE reasons why it was the World Series or bust

Morton signed a two-year, $14 million deal at the beginning of the season and you better believe that every bit of what the Astros are paying him is worth it.  But being great doesn’t necessarily enamor having a flashy name on the back of the jersey but what’s done underneath the fabric.

One can make a case for the entire Astros team having that type of aura.  They weren’t big names then but they are now. Morton certainly encapsulated all of what it means to be clutch and he’ll forever be appreciated in Houston for it.  Especially when he threw the final pitch to Corey Seager — with his 96 mph fastball — to cause him to ground out to seal the 5-1 win over the Dodgers.

Thank you Charlie, I look forward to seeing you back next season as you all will be trying this again!

Go Astros!