After ace Charlie Morton sustained a fractured fibula during Game 1 of the World Series last night, the Braves have replaced him on their World Series roster with left-hander Tucker Davidson, per a league announcement.
Morton, 37, took a 102 mph Yuli Gurriel comebacker off the leg in last night’s game. The ball caromed over to first baseman Freddie Freeman, and Morton retired the next two hitters without issue. As Jeff Schultz of The Athletic writes, the Braves conducted X-rays between innings, which did not reveal a fracture, so Morton returned for the third inning. While the right-hander managed to strike out Jose Altuve, he was immediately visited by trainers after the following pitch and soon departed. A second set of X-rays then revealed a fracture.
Whether Morton had a fracture that was initially concealed by swelling or sustained the fracture during the Altuve at-bat, the end result is the same. Atlanta will be without its top starter and one of the best performers in recent postseason memory. It’s a tough loss to take, but the Braves hung on for a 6-2 victory in Game 1 and now find themselves just three wins from their first World Series title since 1995. The 25-year-old Davidson, who has just 21 2/3 innings of MLB experience, will be tasked with helping to realize that ultimate goal.
A 19th-round pick by Atlanta in 2016, Davidson has steadily improved his stock throughout his career and now ranks as one of the club’s more promising young arms. He tossed 20 innings over the life of four regular-season starts in 2021, notching a 4.15 ERA while striking out 18 of his 83 opponents (21.7%) against eight walks (9.6%). He was terrific in limited Triple-A action as well, logging a 1.17 ERA and a 28-to-5 K/BB ratio in 23 innings out of the Gwinnett rotation.
A forearm injury interrupted Davidson’s season and limited him to just those eight starts during the regular season. He’s pitched in just one game since mid-June, a three-inning effort with Gwinnett back on Oct. 3. It’s unlikely he’ll be counted upon for lengthy relief stints, then, but he’ll still give the Braves a fresh arm should the need arise. Of course, the Astros represent a tough task for any southpaw, as Houston batted .270/.339/.449 against lefties as a team this season — good for an MLB-best 117 wRC+.
With Morton now finished for the season, it remains to be seen how the Braves will shape their rotation moving forward. Max Fried was announced as the Game 2 starter yesterday, but Atlanta has yet to announce starters for Game 3 or Game 4. Ian Anderson will likely draw the ball in Game 3.
Huascar Ynoa might’ve been an option but was removed from their NLCS roster due to a shoulder injury. As such, he’s ruled out for World Series work. Drew Smyly spent much of the season in Atlanta’s rotation but worked in a bullpen capacity down the stretch. He worked 3 1/3 innings in his lone postseason appearance to date (and, again, would have a tough draw against the ’Stros as a lefty). Kyle Wright is on the postseason roster and threw seven innings in his final Triple-A start — but that was back on Oct. 2. He hasn’t pitched since. With only two clear rotation options remaining, it’s possible the Braves will simply turn to a series of all-hands-on-deck bullpen games when Fried and Anderson don’t draw the start.
Good move. I can get on board with Davidson
The Mets "Missed WAR"
Jesse Chavez game 4 as long as he can go. If he pitches we’ll leave him in there as long as you can. He’s old and a pending free agent. Even if you burn his arm up for the rest of the season it doesn’t matter. Do the same thing in game 5 but with Smyly. If the Astros hit lefties that well they can always replace him with Weight or someone. Make them prove they can hit him before you take him out though.
I like it but I think you throw Kyle Wright other than Smiley as he has a chance when he is on to go really deep. He changed and matured in triple aaa.
Also it would add to trade value or idea he could be a rotation piece next year with a good start
Agreed @Ben. I don’t want Smyly anywhere near the mound this series. Especially if he’s tasked with going through the lineup twice, just seems like asking for trouble.
I’m not much more confident in Wright, but at least he’s a lesser known commodity that could give the Astros some difficulty when I comes to figuring him out for a bit.
Someone should tell Houston that both Matzek and Will Smith are left handed. Maybe that will help them hit better next time they face them?
Morton hears a Who
In 4 GS (2021): 3.60 ERA with 18 SO in 20 IP with a 1.15 WHIP. He had a forearm injury mid-July and was an injury that really tested the pitching rotation because they were really looking to him for back-of-the-rotation support, especially when Ynoa went down.
FredMcGriff for the HOF
@legend. https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/d/davidtu01.shtml. Tucker reminds me of a young Tom Glavine. He’s looked good in his limited MLB showing so far.
He’s the Braves’ #7 prospect.
Atlanta in 5.
Charlie Morton is a beast. Seriously continued pitching with a broken fibula until he literally couldn’t anymore.
Anderson will get a start in either game 3 or 4. The Braves aren’t using all hands on deck bullpen games when Fried doesn’t get the start in both of those games. They can then piggyback Wright & Smyly rather than do a normal bullpen game. That saves the pen some
For Love of the Game
Steve completely left Anderson out of the discussion!
For Love of the Game
Steve just fixed it.
Fried isn’t great or really even good on short rest. We prolly won’t see him till game 6 unless the Astros have a 3-1 series lead in game 5
game 2 starter
Fried has to step it up even more in Morton’s absence.
Anderson in game 3
Smyly/bullpen in game 4
Wright/Davidson in game 5 (if needed)
Definitely a possibility. I hope Snitker resists the temptation of rushing Fried back.
Plain and simply put, this team needs to Mash and outslug Houston. We can’t rely on stellar outings from the starters Max and Ian Included. They need to get a lead and capitalize on those crucial add on runs.
I agree and Astros don’t have the big starters anymore so they are hittable
Let’s cross our fingers that Anderson can go deep into the game on game 3 so that Atlanta can have a rested of a pen that you could have.
I would start Kyle Wright in game 4 especially if he hasn’t been seen by the Astros could be a big benefit especially with Astros without the designated hitter in Georgia
That’s going to be up to Snitker. Hopefully with Morton out he will give Anderson more than 4 innings.
I’m really getting tired of the phrase “all hands on deck”.
Not to be ignorant but why cant he continue to pitch with a broken leg like he did the other night? He was still throwing around 95 MPH you wouldnt think he could really do no more harm to it. It’s already broken anyway and the season is over in a few days you think he would be able to take a shot and get through it.
FredMcGriff for the HOF
That’s incredibly harsh. I wouldn’t even suggest a player I didn’t care for to continue playing injured. My faith in humanity is less after reading that comment. Please bring back the downvote.
FredMcGriff I completely agree with you What an idiotic comment. No players should ever put their health in danger for a baseball game. The fact that anyone’s would suggest that he put his career and his ability to walk in jeopardy it’s just low class.
He didn’t mean it that way. You’re just as harsh to him. I mean, it should be a player’s choice but Curt Schilling did it. Now after reading the other points, I agree it’s not a good idea.
Ducky Buckin Fent
Hopefully, I would have phrased it better than @Yappi. But, I have to admit, I’m not completely insensitive to what he’s posting, @McGriff.
Didi played an entire LDS with a torn UCL. Part of the reason was, the damage was done. He wanted to play & was able to handle the pain. It’s a moot point, because Morton seemed OK with leaving.
But: had he wanted to continue, I would have let him. I just think he’s going to know his personal limitations & I would trust that. & the elephant in the room is that he *was* still throwing well.
“Not to be ignorant”, then proceeds to be ignorant.
It wasn’t ignorant. It was something worse. What he really meant to say was, “all hands on deck.”
I doubt it was broken that entire time. It was likely stressed and that final time he planted his leg probably broke it completely.
You can’t be serious.
If you are, think of it like this. I’m swinging a bat and it gets a crack. It’s still more or less in original shape. And you can hit with it. But it’s weakened. Thats the fracture, its a crack in the bone.
Keep hitting with that bat and it breaks clean apart. The pieces aren’t even where they began. Now you’ve got a displaced break that needs surgery, screws, plates, and a way longer recovery time with more therapy due to all the surgeries to put the hardware in and out. Not to mention injuries if the bone protrudes out the skin when it snaps.
Let’s chop off his throwing hand. He can learn to use the other hand.
Yeah man who needs two functioning legs to pitch?
Maybe the Braves can talk him into amputating it at the knee and wearing a prosthetic. No broken bone then.
The answer is that, yes, you can harm a broken leg by walking on it let alone pitching on it. That is why people with broken legs sometimes used crutches or braces. So The Braves probably let Morton pitch to one batter too many, not the opposite. But give Morton his due for being tough.
@ Yappi / I’m not as steadfast against this as other responders here but you have to take into consideration how much force is put on your legs when you are pitching. Not only do you need to support all your body weight on one leg, but most of the pitching power comes from the lower body and the ability to push off the mound with one leg and land on your other leg, absorbing all of that momentum. Putting that much force on the fibula will easily make a hairline fracture much, much worse and it could actually even snap in half. So there’s simply no way for the doctors to wrap it or brace it to take all of that force off of the bones. If he tried to pitch, he could face a Joe Theisman type of break which would end his career.
Granted the circumstances are different, but look up Dave Dravecky. He came back too soon and it cost him.
If you want to see what happens when you keep playing with a fractured appendage check out the tragic story of Wardy Joubert III. So sad.
like a phoenix from the ashes, he has emerged!! Haha!
Odd and bold decision. honestly, I didn’t even realize he was healthy again. Hopefully he can pitch like he did when he was called up
I like this move. cool to see him back healthy this year too.
At least it is not Touki or Newcomb. The former needs to find a new team.
Where are those who kept saying astros in 4?
My 2nd favorite team, my beloved Braves should go for broke and take tonight’s game and go 2 and 0 to Thruist field…
i dont think was anti-Braves sentiment as much as a nod to how great that Astros lineup can be.
This didn’t age well tied series stros looking for their second ring. Does the nightmare of Chris Burke still live in braves fans ?
If Charlie Morton played hockey, they’d just throw a brace on his leg and send him back out on the ice!
In all honesty, this is a major blow to Atlanta. Coming into the series, Atlanta only had (3) legit starters in Charlie, Max & Ian and now they are down to two. It seems like both Smyly and Wright will need to be counted on for some bulk innings now that Charlie is out. For Atlanta to ensure a series victory, Game 2 feels like a must win for them now. Houston is an excellent road team and they will be facing Anderson, Smyly/bullpen, Wright/bullpen in the (3) games in Atlanta. There’s a good chance Houston walks away with 2 victories in the (3) Atlanta home games.
If Atlanta returns to Houston down 3-2, it will be tough to win it all, but if they return to Houston up 3-2, I like their chances to be crowned champs
The easiest path is for Atlanta to win in 5!
Kinda evens the playing field a bit with McCullers going down
Toussaint snubbed again. Mistake
only you and inevitably few others still think Touki is a major league starting pitcher.
You don’t know how to evaluate players. Many don’t. The people who are wrongly evaluating players are in the majority
Enlighten me how Touki is a good pitcher. I’ll wait.
Pinpoint control. Tight spin rate on fastball. Well above average vertical movement on breaking stuff. With the playoff velo bump the 4 seam fastball will sit 95 and touch 97 at times
All of that together means you’re getting a potentially lights out pitcher. Will be much better than Smyly who unsurprisingly gave up a jack last night
He is pinpoint control
The Braves should be fine. They still have better starting pitching than the Astros with Fried potentially starting twice. They also have a deeper lineup. Check out the 8-9 hitters from Game One:
Houston: McCormick, Maldonado.
Atlanta: Pederson, Swanson.
I also like the Braves’ big three lefty options out of the bullpen. Granted, all three were used last night. But with a day off after tonight, the pen is in good enough shape to cover whatever innings Morton would throw. In the meantime, Davidson provides an additional lefty for Game Two.
I’d like to see Dusty Baker win one, but covering those early innings on the mound will be a tough task.
Deeper lineup ? You usually have good takes but not this time. There’s a reason Houston had the best offense in baseball this year.. because they are better then every other offense real simple
I gotta add to this. You compared the 8 and 9 hitters for the Astros one is a rookie and the other is in their strictly for his defense. Why not compare 1-7?? Astros have the better infield, the better outfield, I’ll even say the better bullpen. They both have pretty bad starting pitching at this point
Fried gets 2 and 6. Anderson gets 3 and 7.
4 and 5 will be a hodgepodge.
Anderson needs to not throw 80 pitches by the 3rd inning
Getting longevity out of him is imperative
I believe someone will step up whether Smyly, Wright or Davidson and cement themselves in the rotation next year
I don’t know why but I just have a feeling Wright throws a gem in game 4 & puts himself in the rotation next year with it
The stuff his there he just needs the confidence and not nibble
This game is extremely important
Next game too
Braves can’t waste Anderson or Fried starts
Fried looks like the same Fried from his last Dodger start. Someone needs to pay attention to Fried. He might be tipping.
Braves hitters so far missing down the middle tier C pitches in the first from Astros C pitcher.
This is precisely why I always denounced Fried as an ace. You are not an ace (this label is thrown around too much) until you pitch well in games you need to win against teams with good offenses. Fried already proved he is not based on this LCS and WS.
Hope he pitches well if the series gets to 6. If not, I don’t know.
Haha, truly amazing what happens when you don’t tip or the Astros are not stealing signs again. Same Fried stuff, but suddenly the Astros can’t hit anymore. Give me a break!
Fried was dealt a bad hand those early innings. How many times has that over shift killed this team in the playoffs? Gurriel just shot a routine grounder to the right. 2 errors tonight too. Sloppy game. I said it earlier, this team needs to outslug Houston. Too many strikeouts.
That is what happens when you essentially have non-competitive at-bats from the bottom of the order, especially from Duvall and Swanson the majority of the time. Seriously, don’t throw strikes, and these two will get themselves out.
Ducky Buckin Fent
But that’s their offense & it’s one of the Big Reasons your ballclub is still playing. Singles, small ball, steals: whatever, whatever, whatever, man. Thus far, the winning team has hit less home runs just one time this entire postseason (NLDS game 5). Happened twice in the entire ’20 MegaPlayoffs. Home runs play. Especially in October.
It sounds embarrassingly simplistic.
But it is. Hit more home runs in a playoff than your opposition & you are virtually guaranteed to win.
Braves just didn’t hit “enough” home runs tonight. But I believe in their offense more than the Astros. FWIW. Braves in 7.
I’d take that bet. Astros in 6