Simply put, this wasn’t the homecoming that Charlie Morton expected.
The Rays starter made it known that he would feel a flurry of emotions as he toed the Minute Maid Park rubber for the first time as an opposing pitcher.
The Astros, the organization that Morton helped lead to a world championship in 2017, let him know how they, and the city of Houston, felt about him in a heartfelt tribute video:
Soon after, Charlie let them know the feeling was mutual:
Tip of the cap right back at ya, Chuck. pic.twitter.com/YWntLbbeDm— Houston Astros (@astros) August 28, 2019
But the love affair ended almost immediately after it started as the Rays, third in the AL Wild Card standings, had a daunting task in front of them. As great as Morton has been this year for the Rays, he’d have to out duel one of the two pitchers who have prevented runs at a better rate than he in Justin Verlander.
And with two of the league’s best hurlers going against each other, it was reasonable to expect a low scoring, fast paced game...
...and it was—for two whole innings.
Morton was chased after 4 innings, allowing 6 run on 7 hits. Andrew Kittredge allowed 3 runs in the 5th. Chaz Roe allowed 5 (3 ER) in the 6th. The best performing pitcher of the night for the Rays? Mike Brosseau, who allowed 1 run in 2 innings of work.
Oh, Joey Wendle hit a home run:
At least the Rays can brush this one off and move on. At least they have an easier opponent tomorrow when they face (checks notes) Gerrit Cole.