The Atlanta Braves won Game 1 of the World Series, 6-2, in Houston against the Astros.
The most amazing thing is that they were able to defeat Houston’s potent offense with their starter, Charlie Morton, only being able to cover 2.1 innings.
Morton was hit by a 102-mph comebacker in his leg in the second inning, but stayed on the mound to retire three more batters before finally succumbing to the pain.
He left in the third inning after 2.1 frames with one hit, two walks, and three strikeouts.
Most importantly, he allowed no runs.
During the game, the Braves performed tests on his right leg and determined he has a broken right fibula, ending his season.
He will be ready for Spring Training next year, but the Braves are losing their best pitcher for the rest of the World Series.
The fact he threw 16 pitches with a broken leg and was still able to strike out Jose Altuve with a 96-mph fastball and an 80-mph curveball tells you everything you need to know about Morton.
Charlie Morton threw 10 pitches on a broken leg, sat down for a half-inning, threw six more pitches, the last two of which were a 96-mph fastball and 80-mph curveball to strike out Jose Altuve.
So, yeah, Charlie Morton threw 16 pitches pushing off the mound with a broken leg.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) October 27, 2021
He is a sensible loss for the Braves, and the team will have to come up with ideas to replace a pitcher who threw 185.2 innings with a 3.34 ERA.
How To Replace A Pitcher Like Morton
The Braves can always have a bullpen game in Game 5, should the series extend that far, in place of Morton.
Young right-handed starter Kyle Wright is a member of the World Series roster, and can provide some length even though he hasn’t been particularly good at the MLB level.
He could provide a few innings if needed.
A traditional bullpen game is not a bad idea, but there is one thing to consider: the unit is already taxed by having to fill in for Morton in Game 1.
Morton only covered 2.1 frames because of his injury, so A.J. Minter, who threw 2.2 innings on Tuesday, should be unavailable for two or three days.
The bullpen game could be risky considering the overall bullpen workload in Game 1.
Two Potential Starters
Another avenue the Braves could take when coming up with potential ways to replace Morton is using a traditional starter.
For Game 4 and Game 5, Atlanta has two options: Wright and Drew Smyly.
Unfortunately, Huascar Ynoa, who had a brilliant regular season, was removed from the NLCS roster with a shoulder injury and won’t be able to take the hill.
He would have been a natural replacement.
Games 4 and 5 will be the most challenging tests for the Braves, who still haven’t announced Morton’s replacement on the roster as of Wednesday afternoon.
Charlie Morton replacement options, ranked:
1. Spencer Strider
2. Jacob Webb
3. Touki Toussaint
4. Sean Newcomb
5. Kyle Muller
6. Edgar Santana
7. Richard Rodríguez
8. Josh Tomlin
In other words, not great.
— Punish the Trashbuzzers (@mrsiefert) October 27, 2021
They are surely hoping they can be in the driver’s seat by then.
Shutting down the Astros lineup with that group could be a tricky proposition, but it will test the Braves’ resolve and the pitchers’ true ability.