First Call: Ex-Pirate Charlie Morton is postseason star; Marc-Andre Fleury wins Vegas opener | TribLIVE.com
Breakfast With Benz

First Call: Ex-Pirate Charlie Morton is postseason star; Marc-Andre Fleury wins Vegas opener

Tim Benz
1756821_web1_1756821-72128eca7867470fa710e283afc4a79e
AP
Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Charlie Morton throws to an Oakland Athletics batter during the first inning of an American League wild-card baseball game in Oakland, Calif., Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019.

In “First Call” Thursday, another postseason ex-Pirate moment. Marc-Andre Fleury’s 2019 is off to a good start in Vegas. Jon Gruden is mad about Vontaze Burfict’s suspension.


Clutch Chuck

Former Pirate Charlie Morton already has a World Series Game 7 win to his credit.

He did that for the Houston Astros in 2017. He also had a Game 7 ALCS win for them that year.

Well, add a do-or-die wild-card game victory to his resume as well. “Ground Chuck” did that for the Tampa Bay Rays last night as they won in Oakland 5-1.

The right-hander tossed five innings allowing five hits, three walks and one unearned run before giving way to the bullpen.

The Oakland A’s left nine men on base in the loss.


So what’s next?

The ex-Pirates theme will continue in the ALDS as Morton and the Rays face his most recent team.

Former Bucco Tyler Glasnow starts Game 1 for Tampa. He’ll be opposed by the Houston Astros’ Justin Verlander at 2:05 p.m. Friday.

Glasnow suffered a forearm strain in May after a strong start. But he came back just as good in September. He ended up posting a 1.78 ERA in 12 games this year.

The Astros will throw Gerrit Cole in Game 2. All he did was strikeout 326 people this year.

But, hey, Steven Brault is a good hitter and can sing. So the Pirates are just fine.


While we are at it

Another familiar face in his new place got his season off to a good start last night.

Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury won the season opener for the Vegas Golden Knights. They beat the San Jose Sharks 4-1.

The former Penguins Stanley Cup winner only had to make 21 saves along the way. Fellow former Penguin and current teammate Ryan Reaves had five hits. Another one-time Penguin, Deryk Engelland, was plus-one.


Gruden is grumpy

Jon Gruden is mad in Oakland.

The Raiders coach is upset that the NFL has suspended his linebacker, Vontaze Burfict, for the whole season for this hit on Sunday in Indianapolis.

Via NFL.com, “I’m not really gonna say anything,” Gruden said during Wednesday’s press conference. “I’ve talked to [NFL vice president of football operations Jon] Runyan and the league office, he knows how I feel. It hurts our team really bad. I’m anxious to see what the appeal says. I’m not happy about it — at all. I don’t want to say anything else, I’m obviously upset about it.”

Sorry, Chucky. Burfict is a menace and should’ve been kicked out of the league a long time ago. His track record?

In seven seasons with the Bengals, Burfict was fined 11 times and suspended three times for a combined 10 games.

This is just the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Before the camel could break someone’s neck.

Knock on wood if you’re with me.


Kicking concerns

The New England Patriots are 4-0. But not everything is perfect.

The franchise had to put long-time kicker Stephen Gostkowski on injured reserve with an undisclosed injury.

Despite making four Pro Bowls, Gostkowski has struggled this year. He has one field goal miss and has shanked four extra points.

The Patriots worked out veteran kickers Mike Nugent and Kai Forbath on Wednesday.

Tim Benz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tim at [email protected] or via Twitter. All tweets could be reposted. All emails are subject to publication unless specified otherwise.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.