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Rays-Astros: A pair of Charlie Morton pitches have Twitter buzzing

A Charlie Morton fastball and curveball in Monday’s Game 3 are turning Twitter on its head.
Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Charlie Morton (50) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Houston Astros for Game 3 of the American League Division Series Monday, Oct. 7, 2019 in St. Petersburg. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Times]
Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Charlie Morton (50) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Houston Astros for Game 3 of the American League Division Series Monday, Oct. 7, 2019 in St. Petersburg. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times]
Published Oct. 7, 2019
Updated Oct. 7, 2019

ST. PETERSBURG - With the Rays facing elimination, Charlie Morton got the start in Game 3 of the American League Division Series, the first home playoff game at Tropicana Field since 2013.

And through four innings, Morton’s offerings broke Houston bats and sent the Twitter world into a frenzy.

Rob Friedman, affectionately known on Twitter as “Pitching Ninja," slowed down a Charlie Morton fastball and curveball, then overlayed the images into one video.

The video shows Morton’s 94 mph fastball start to left before breaking horizontally to the right. His 80 mph curveball breaks down and to the left, crossing paths with the fastball.

The video, posted at 2:03 p.m. on Monday, had over 5,000 likes and 1,300 retweets within an hour of posting. It induced a flurry of reactions across the social media site.

“That’s not late break, that’s magic,” responded Nathan Kinnaird.

Another Twitter user responded with a gif of Hagrid, the half-giant from the Harry Potter series, saying “You’re a wizard.”

Major League Baseball’s official Twitter account responded with an emoji head exploding, perfectly capturing the mind-blowing pitches.

Pitch pairings like this remind viewers how difficult it is to hit major-league pitching. So the next time you wonder why your favorite big leaguer swung at a ball in the dirt, remember this is what they’re up against.

Morton finished his day with nine strikeouts over five innings of one-run ball.

Contact Ryan Kolakowski at Follow @ryankolakowski


  1. In this August 2019 file photo, Tampa Bay Rays broadcaster Rich Hollenberg, left, leans in along with guest Dante Bichette, center, as fellow broadcaster Orestes Destrade, right, takes a selfie of them together during the Fox Sports Sun pregame show before the Tampa Bay Rays take on the Toronto Blue Jays at Tropicana Field. DIRK SHADD   |   Times [DIRK SHADD   |   TIMES  |  Tampa Bay Times]
  2. Charlotte Stone Crabs shortstop Wander Franco (1) practices his swing in the dugout during the game against Clearwater Threshers on Thursday, July 25, 2019 in Clearwater.  ALLIE GOULDING   |   Times
 [ALLIE GOULDING  |  Tampa Bay Times]
  3. Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Tyler Glasnow, shown earlier in camp, has been working on tweaking his delivery. [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
  4. Wander Franco throws to first during the spring training game between the Detroit Tigers and the Tampa Bay Rays at Charlotte Sports Park on Thursday. [WILL VRAGOVIC  |  Tampa Bay Rays]
  5. Wander Franco taking ground balls before his first big-league spring game with the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020, with Willy Adames behind him. [MARC TOPKIN  |  Tampa Bay Times]
  6. Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Darwinzon Hernandez (63) throws after reporting for spring training baseball camp Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020, in Fort Myers, Fla. (AP Photo/John Bazemore) [JOHN BAZEMORE  |  AP]
  7. Tim Tebow, playing then for the St. Lucie Mets in the Florida State League, has a laugh while answering questions during a news conference at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa on Aug. 10, 2017. [Tampa Bay Times]
  8. Jose Alvarado retires only one of the five batters he faces in his spring debut Wednesday. [MARC TOPKIN  |  Tampa Bay Times]
  9. Joan Steinbrenner threw out the first pitch to Yankees catcher Jorge Posada in 2008 when Legends Field was renamed in honor of her husband George. Mr. Steinbrenner passed away two years later, and Mrs. Steinbrenner died in 2018. [Times]
  10. Wander Franco  is slated to play in his first big-league exhibition games, coming off the bench on Thursday in Port Charlotte, then starting Friday in West Palm Beach against the Nationals. [ALLIE GOULDING  |  Tampa Bay Times]
  11. Philadelphia Phillies manager Joe Girardi watches pitchers in the bullpen during a spring training baseball workout Friday, Feb. 14, 2020, in Clearwater, Fla. [FRANK FRANKLIN II  |  AP]
  12. The Rays are hoping the rain holds off and they can play today in Port Charlotte. [MARC TOPKIN  |  Tampa Bay Times]