BOSTON — Rain will be more of an issue than cold in tonight’s game at Fenway Park ― or if it even will be played — but Rays starter Charlie Morton won’t let you see him fret.
The veteran starter said worrying about or adjusting to the elements isn't of primary concern when he takes the mound. Nor the dimensions of the stadium, how often he's faced the opponent, what game of the series he pitches, or anything else.
Right or wrong.
“I try not to get psyched out about the park, the environment, the situation,” Morton said. “I try to think positively about all of that. Even if it’s irrational.”
Temps are forecast to be in the upper 40s tonight, amid the rain, with weather.com forecasting a slight break around the scheduled 7:10 start time and then a 60 percent chance of rain starting around 8 p.m. and increasing from there.
Morton was asked Wednesday how he readies for that, or worse.
“There’s no way,” he said. "I don’t even know how I would prepare myself. Let’s just say it was 30 degrees. Or 20 degrees.
“Do you find, like, a walk-in freezer and throw against the wall?”
That sense of humor, and perspective, is one of the things the Rays like about having Morton around. Along with the arsenal that makes him, even without his best stuff so far, one of their top starters.
Morton had a similar take when asked whether it was an edge or a concern that he was facing the Red Sox in back to back starts.
“I don’t know,” he said. "I’ve done this a couple times where you face a team and then you face them again within the week, and I don’t know who had the advantage.
“I would think it tends to lead toward the hitters having the advantage because they’ve seen you, actually physically seen you more. My information on them doesn’t really change. I would err on that side.”
In facing the Sox on Saturday, Morton allowed five runs, all in a messy second inning, four on an Andrew Benintendi grand slam, but nothing else over his six innings.
Or is he concerned much about pitching the opening game of a key series well, for April anyway:
“I’m going to try to pitch to the best of my ability,” Morton said. "I don’t need any more motivation than I already have. I’m trying to pitch as well as I can pitch just like every guy in here. We’re just trying to do our jobs.
“Ideally you go in and sweep the Red Sox right? Key to that for me is first pitch of the game, first batter of the game, being aggressive and getting ahead and going batter-to- batter, pitch-to-pitch.”