Tampa Bay Rays' Charlie Morton ponders potential Game 7 as last start

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Charlie Morton started the day Tuesday not knowing if he will pitch in a Game 7 of the World Series with his Tampa Bay Rays facing elimination against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The right-hander also didn't know if he would pitch again at all, since Morton has already indicated he might retire if the Rays don't pick up the $15 million option on his contract for next season. Morton turns 37 next month.

"I've been thinking about it,'' Morton said before Game 6, with Tampa Bay trailing 3-2 in the Series. "Will it be the last time I put on a uniform? Will it be the last time I put on a Rays uniform? Hopefully not. It just goes back to the situation, what it's looking like this offseason into next year."

If there is a Game 7, L.A. ace Walker Buehler would oppose Morton in a winner-take-all finale of the neutral-site Fall Classic at the home of the Texas Rangers on Wednesday night.

It would be a rematch of Game 3, won 6-2 by the Dodgers when Buehler struck out 10 and allowed one run in six innings. Morton had his worst outing in two postseasons with the Rays, giving up seven hits and five runs in 4⅓ innings.

But Morton has Game 7 experience in the World Series that Buehler lacks. Morton pitched four scoreless innings for Houston to finish the 2017 finale at Dodger Stadium in a 5-1 victory that clinched the championship for the Astros.

Morton acknowledged it will be different going into the final day of the season knowing he was starting a Game 7 in the World Series. Lance McCullers Jr. had the task for Houston three years ago.

"I woke up not even thinking that I was going to be in that game,'' said Morton, who beat Houston in Game 7 of the American League Championship Series this year to send Tampa Bay to the World Series for the second time. The other was in 2008.

"So I didn't have to go to bed that night and wake up all day and just stew about it," he said. "I saw Lance just going to walk to get some coffee that morning, and I was thinking, 'Dang, man, I wonder what it's like to know that you're about to start Game 7 of the World Series?' Experience, it gives you some peace of mind."