For two innings, everything was going Atlanta's way in Game 1 of the World Series. Then, the first major speed bump came.
Starting pitcher Charlie Morton was forced to leave in the third inning after suffering an ankle injury and landing awkwardly while throwing a pitch. Morton had been hit in the ankle by a ground ball in the previous inning, per Fox's Ken Rosenthal.
Shortly after Morton's departure, the Braves announced that an X-ray revealed that Morton had a fractured right fibula, and would miss the remainder of the World Series. He is expected to make a full recovery for spring training in 2022.
Morton had pitched two scoreless innings and got the leadoff batter out in the third when he departed, finishing the night with one hit, two walks and three strikeouts on 44 pitches. He threw 16 pitches and faced three batters after breaking the bone, retiring all three before being replaced by relief pitcher A.J. Minter.
The Braves raced out to a 5-0 lead through the first three innings and kept Houston at arm's length the whole night. The bullpen allowed two runs with eight strikeouts over 6.2 frames, and the offense tallied 12 hits. Jorge Soler led off the game with a solo home run, becoming the first player in World Series history to homer leading off the top of the first. NLCS MVP Eddie Rosario went 2-for-5 with a double, and also had an outfield assist to nab Yuli Gurriel trying to stretch a single to a double in the eighth inning.
Morton has a 3.24 ERA over 16.2 innings this postseason, with 22 strikeouts and 10 walks.
Sports Illustrated's Emma Baccellieri writes:
This is a huge blow to the Braves. Morton is one of their best starters—not to mention a steady, experienced postseason presence—and there’s no great replacement for him. The team can’t add Huascar Ynoa to the roster, because he was taken out due to injury in the NLCS, and is therefore ineligible. This means it’s likely the Braves will instead have to get at least one start from either Kyle Wright (who spent most of the year in Triple A) or from Drew Smyly—which isn’t series-damning, by any means, but it certainly isn’t what they were planning.
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