ESPN COMMENTARY: Bringing back Charlie Morton isn’t enough…

COMMENTARY: Bringing back Charlie Morton isn’t enough.

COMMENTARY: Bringing back Charlie Morton isn't enough - Sports Illustrated  Atlanta Braves News, Analysis and More

The postseason has taught us that you need as many studs as possible if you want to win.

Reporting is coming out that the Atlanta Braves are planning on picking up the $20M club option for starting pitcher Charlie Morton for the 2024 season.

Good. Keep going. It’s not enough.

If there’s anything that we learned from the 2024 postseason, it’s that you can never have enough talent, enough horses, to power you across the finish line.

Atlanta’s amazingly historic offense almost completely disappeared in the postseason, going as cold as possible as the Braves were eliminated by the Phillies in the NLDS for the 2nd straight year.

(Not to be outdone, the Phillies headed home needing one win in two chances to advance out of the NLCS and their studs went as cold as Atlanta’s did, allowing Arizona to take games six and seven in Citizens Bank Park and advance to the World Series.)

Know what that means? You need more horses.

Atlanta Braves sign Charlie Morton to one-year, $20 million extension - ESPN

Atlanta’s starting pitching, for a second straight postseason, had questions about availability and effectiveness swirling. Max Fried lost 15 pounds in the two weeks leading up to 2022’s NLDS and his game one start, and then promptly got shelled – six runs (four earned) in 3.1 innings.

1 innings. Spencer Strider returned from an oblique injury and clearly wasn’t 100%, and he got shelled too – five runs on three hits and two walks in 2.1 innings.

And then this season, Fried came off the IL to make only his second start in a month, and was only okay against Philly (three runs on six hits in four innings, with four walks and only three strikeouts). And after Charlie Morton sprained his finger, Bryce Elder got the nod for game three and got shelled worse than Fried did in 2022 – six runs on five hits and a walk in only 2.2 innings, not making it out of the third inning.

You need more horses.

Atlanta’s offense, outside of Austin Riley, went ice cold. That’s the real reason Atlanta lost – the bats just didn’t make the trip to Philly, and Braves hitters collectively went 24-129 in the four games, with three homers (two from Austin Riley). One of the most prolific offense in Major League Baseball history, one that tied the all-time homer record for a single season, scored a grand total of eight runs in four games.

You need more horses.

It’s great that Morton’s coming back – he’s a veteran who has been there and done that. He’s well respected in the clubhouse and across the sport, and he’s still one of the more effective #3 starters in all of baseball.

But you need more horses.

Look at what the Texas Rangers did this postseason – they filled the back half of their bullpen with starters. Yeah they got historic performances from some of their starters, like Andrew Heaney and Jordan Montgomery, but they lost Jacob DeGrom during the season and Max Scherzer during the World Series and still won the World Series because they had extra horses – starter Jon Gray, entering the game in place of Scherzer, dropped three inning of scoreless, one hit baseball to get the win in game three.

We’ve heard it a million times now – the postseason’s just different. Everything’s decided by small sample sizes and luck.

You need more horses.

Let’s hope that Atlanta’s going out and finding another horse for the rotation, and one for left field, and then finding some more – we’ll figure out where to put them later.

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