The Astros, coming off the 1-0 win last night, will face...
*28-year old, 6'5" 230lb, RHP Charlie Morton, who is coming in with a 1-3 record, 4.61 ERA/1.46 WHIP, 4.49 FIP, 3.54 xFIP.
*Morton was the 3rd Round pick by the Atlanta Braves in the 2002 MLB Draft, the same round as the Astros picked Rory Shortell, who never made it above High-A Salem, and was out of the Astros system before the 2008 season.
*Morton's career -2.9 WAR is the worst mark of any 2002 3rd Rounder (who made it to the majors, which means he's better than the 22 guys who didn't make it). Curtis Granderson (Rd3 Pk8) has a 29.9 career WAR.
*Morton was traded with Gorkys Hernandez and Jeff Locke to the Pirates for Nate McLouth on June 3, 2009.
*He's been more homer happy in 2012 than he was in 2011. Last season, Morton surrendered just six homers in 171.2IP for a 0.3 HR/9 rate (lowest in the NL). So far in 27.1IP in 2012, Morton has given up four jacks. 21.1% of the flyballs he has given up have left the yard. Three of those four homers have come on the first pitch of the AB.
*After a strong three starts to the season (2.65 ERA/1.24 WHIP), Morton has allowed 15H/9ER, 10K:4BB, 3HR in his last 10.1IP.
*Righties are hitting .340/.379/.623 against Morton this season, for a 1.002 OPS; while lefties have compiled a .657 OPS.
*When the batter gets ahead on Morton, they have a .286/.447/.500 line.
*Morton is 2-5 for his career against the Astros in eight starts, with a 6.59 ERA/1.74 WHIP. The Astros' career .858 OPS against him is the 2nd-highest in the NL. It's been three starts since he's made it out of the 6th against Houston.
*That said, current Astros have a .593 OPS against Morton. Jose Altuve is 1x3 with a homer, Carlos Lee is 8x23.
*The Astros will trot out J.A. Happ tonight for his seventh start of the season.
*Happ currently has a 5.24 ERA, but a 4.64 FIP, and a 3.97 xFIP - largely a result of a .330 BABIP.
*He has 34 strikeouts in 34.1IP this season, his 8.91 K/9 would be the highest of his career.
*In his last three starts, Happ has allowed 19H/12ER, 18K:9BB in 16.1IP.
*#3 hitters are 7x13 with 5BB against Happ, for a .538/.677/1.077 line; and 3-6 hitters are hitting .344/.444/.623 with 9K:11BB.
*Current Pirates have a combined .720 OPS against Happ; with Andrew McCutchen leading the way with 8x22, 3HR, 4K:2BB, and a 1.258 OPS. Jose Tabata is 1x13, and Garrett Jones is 1x15.