Why Charlie Morton is the playoff "x-factor" for the Braves

The Atlanta Braves' staff is pitching very well down the stretch, and a lot of that has to do with the play of Charlie Morton. His status will prove very important for the team come October.

The Atlanta Braves are in the process of steamrolling their way to the playoffs. After winning their 90th game of the season, they not only lead the National League East by 16 games, they also lead all of Major League Baseball by an incredible six games. Their run differential of plus-241 is slowly working its way onto the all-time list and their home run total is on pace to snap the league's home run record.

The runs have come by the bucket-load, but don't let that take away from what the pitching staff has done the season -- specifically the ageless wonder, Charlie Morton.

As we look forward to the playoffs next month, Miles Garrett from Fox 5 joined Sam & Greg to preview why the Morton and his consistent play could be the x-factor for the Braves.

"They're pitching well at the right time," Garrett said about the pitching staff's performance down the stretch. "And Charlie Morton specifically is going to end up being an x-factor for this rotation going forward."

The 39-year-old starter is playing his way into the Cy Young top-5 with his 14 wins (third in MLB), 3.29 ERA (fourth in MLB), and 165 strikeouts in 26 starts. His last four outings have been particularly impressive, posting a 0.38 ERA and striking out 33 batters over 24.0 innings.

Alongside the return of Max Fried to the rotation, Morton's turnaround has spearheaded the resurgence of the Braves starters. That group posted the league's second-worst starting pitcher ERA (6.15) between the end of the All-Star Break and August 10th. They delivered a 2.99 ERA through the end of August and the team is 18-4 in that span.

"You know what you're getting from Max Fried, he's your ace and we saw that again in this Dodgers series," Garrett continued. "But Charlie Morton is that guy that can bring that consistency, that reliability come postseason time."

Morton has played some of his best baseball when the weather cools offs and the pressure ramps up. He helped lead both the Braves (2021) and Astros (2017) to World Series wins with a career postseason ERA of 3.60 and 92 strikeouts in 80.0 innings of work.

With Max Fried, Spencer Strider, Bryce Elder, and Charlie Morton, the Braves rotation is setting up nicely for a strong postseason run.

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