Morton looks to right the ship after a tough start to the 2022 season.
After falling in the series opener Monday, the Atlanta Braves will try to get back on track Tuesday evening when they continue a three-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Atlanta’s defense let them down in Monday’s 6-2 loss, but their offense didn’t help either going 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position. They will look for better results Tuesday night when Charlie Morton matches up against Arizona right-hander Humberto Castellanos.
Morton seemed to be figuring things early in May, but has again struggled of late allowing seven earned runs over his last 9 2/3 innings. He failed to make it out of the fifth inning in his last start allowing nine hits and four runs in just 4 1/3 innings.
Morton has dealt with some command issues, but it is his falling strikeout rate that is most problematic. He posted a 28.6% strikeout rate in 2021, but that is all the way down to 20.3% through his first nine starts this season. Morton’s pitch mix is pretty much identical to last season, but simply isn’t generating as many swing and misses with his four-seamer or his curveball. Opponents hit just .127 with an xwOBA of .227 to go along with a 40.1% whiff rate in 2021. This season, opponents are hitting .286 and have a .299 xwOBA against Morton’s curve. His whiff rate on the pitch is down to 31.8%.
Morton has shown throughout his career that he isn’t afraid to make adjustments. He successfully overcame a slow start in 2021 and was one of the best pitchers in the league at season’s end. The Braves need him to make a similar pivot and soon.
Castellanos began the season in the Diamondbacks’ bullpen but has since moved into the rotation. He allowed 10 hits and six runs in just four innings in his last start against the Dodgers.
Austin Riley homered again in Monday’s loss and extended his hitting streak to eight-straight games. He has homered in two straight and four of his last six games overall and is hitting .300/.317/.650 over his last 10 games.
Tuesday’s game has a late start time of 9:40 p.m. ET and can be seen on Bally Sports South.
Game Date/Time: Tuesday, May 31, 9:40 p.m. ET
Location: Chase Field, Phoenix, Arizona
TV: Bally Sports South
Radio: 680 AM / 93.7 FM The Fan