Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Charlie Morton throws against the Houston Astros during the first inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)

Rays Ace Charlie Morton Struggles in Return to Houston

Tampa Bay Rays’ starting pitcher Charlie Morton returned to Houston for the first time since signing with the Rays in December. Although welcomed warmly by the fans, his former teammates weren’t so gracious.

A Champion Returns Home

The 35-year-old righty called Houston home for two full seasons. His most memorable moment with the team came in the 2017 World Series, as he helped retire the final Dodgers’ batter to give the Astros its first-ever MLB Championship. Houston’s social media team welcomed “Chuck” back with a short highlight video of his career as an Astro.

A Homecoming to Forget

Morton’s start to Tuesday’s game wasn’t bad. In fact, it was a positive one. He allowed a hit to the first batter he faced, George Springer. However, Houston caught him attempting to steal. Morton retired the next five batters he faced.

Problems arose in the bottom of the third. Morton started off the inning by walking Abraham Toro and Robinson Chirinos. Then, Josh Reddick stepped up and smacked an RBI double. The Astros would only score two, but the trouble wouldn’t end there.

In the bottom of the fourth, Morton opened the inning by allowing three consecutive hits, including two doubles to Yordan Alvarez and Yuli Gurriel. Now, with the score at 4-0 and one out, Chirinos homered on the first pitch he saw followed by Reddick hitting a triple.

The Astros would leave Reddick on third, but the damage was already done. Morton’s night was over after four innings.

Rays Pitching-Staff Woes

In his four innings on the mound, Chuck allowed six earned runs on seven hits and struck out four.

Granted, Morton’s performance wasn’t very good, but none of the Rays’ pitchers could quiet the bats of the former world champs. In one inning each, both Andrew Kittredge and Chaz Roe allowed three earned runs.

The Rays’ best pitcher on the night was Mike Brosseau, their third baseman. He gave up just one run in two innings.

Morton’s Season Numbers

Despite the poor performance, Morton has had a good start to his career in Tampa. He has a 13-6 record with a 3.11 ERA.

The AL Wild Card Situation

Performances like that certainly won’t help the Rays in their pursuit of a wild-card spot. After the Astros series, the Rays will face a tough three games against the Indians. To better understand who could potentially grab the AL wild-card spot, read this article. Michael Knauff does a great job summarizing the situation.

Next Up

The Rays and Astros will play tonight at 8:10 p.m., again in Houston. Tune in to ESPN 98.1 FM – 850 AM WRUF for live coverage of the game, beginning at 7:30.

About Joseph Erickson

Sports writer. Passionate about Premier League soccer, specifically Tottenham Hotspur.

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