World Series Hero

Astros lose another piece as Morton signs with Rays

Charlie Morton is gone. Houston Astros/Facebook

The Astros are losing another key piece to their 2017 World Series Championship team.

Charlie Morton, who shut down the Dodgers in Game 7 to give the Astros their first-ever title, is signing a two-year deal with the Tampa Bay Rays for $30 million.

Morton was also one of the best starters for the Astros over the 2018 season, when they lost in the ALCS to the Boston Red Sox. Morton went 15-3 with a 3.13 ERA for the season.

Morton is yet another blow to what was one of the best starting staffs in baseball last year. Fellow free agent Dallas Keuchel is not expected to return, and Lance McCullers is going to miss the season with Tommy John surgery.

As of now, the Astros will have Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, Colin McHugh and a lot of question marks in the rotation. The team also lost veteran catcher Brian McCann and infielder Marwin Gonzalez. While they have signed Robinson Chirinos and acquired Aldemys Diaz to replace Gonzalez, the rotation remains a major question mark. Most assumed Morton would return to the team. The Astros reportedly offered a one year deal with an option; the Rays topped that with two years and an option.

While the Astros have earned the benefit of the doubt with a World Series title in their pocket, the losses from a really good team are piling up, and the Yankees and Red Sox are not going to stand still. The Astros will make some moves to get better, but they let a pretty nice sized fish get away in Morton.

Astros finish the series with a win

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 3 hits from the 6-2 win

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

With an overpowering win on Wednesday night, the Astros went into the series finale on Thursday night hoping to split the series and travel back to Houston on a good note. Here is how the game went:

Final Score: Astros 6, Angels 2.

Record: 61-37, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Wade Miley (8-4, 3.25 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Matt Harvey (3-5, 7.09 ERA).

1) Bats stay hot

Houston's offense provided another significant lead early in Thursday night's game, getting two two-out walks in the top of the first to set up a two-RBI double by Yordan Alvarez to take an immediate 2-0 lead. They followed that up with a three-run third inning, including RBIs from Josh Reddick and Yuli Gurriel along with a solo home run by George Springer.

Alex Bregman extended the lead in the fifth, getting a solo home run of his own to make it a 6-0 lead. They would ride those six runs all the way to the end to the victory.

2) Miley with a decent start

Wade Miley had an excellent start to his night, getting through the first four innings without allowing a hit with just a couple of walks. He allowed the first hit to the Angels in the fifth, but would not allow a run until the sixth.

In the bottom of the sixth, Miley would have his worst inning of the evening, allowing a couple of hits which paired with an error would end up putting the Angels in position to trim the lead to 6-2. Will Harris came in to finish off the inning.

Still, it was a decent night for Miley, and with the early offense behind him, he was able to leave in line for the win. His final line: 5.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3K, 0 HR.

3) Bullpen finishes off the series split

After Harris finished off the sixth for Miley, the seventh belonged to Collin McHugh. Mchugh worked around a one-out double, keeping it at 6-2 heading to the eighth.

Ryan Pressly took over for his usual eighth-inning role, and he was able to work around a leadoff double by Mike Trout by retiring the next three batters to send things to the ninth. Roberto Osuna came in for the ninth and recorded the final three outs, despite a two-out triple, to complete the win.

Up Next: The Astros will take a late-night flight back to Houston tonight to start a weekend three-game series with the Rangers beginning on Friday night. The series opener will be at 7:10 PM tomorrow and it the expected pitching matchup is Mike Minor (8-4, 2.73 ERA) for the Rangers going up against Houston's ace, Justin Verlander (11-4, 2.98 ERA).

The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.

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