HOUSTON – Unable to play in the American League Championship Series (SCLA), Houston Astros rotation ace Lance McCullers Jr. is heartbroken. Try to stay in good spirits by helping the rest of the team in their duel against the Boston Red Sox.
“It’s been a tough couple of days, but I can help this team in other ways,” McCullers said Saturday before Game 2 of the series. “Helping the guys with the reports, watching the game, trying to spot what I can. I can help them in more ways than one.”
The Astros bounced back from a brief start by Framber Valdez with a great performance from their relievers and home runs from José Altuve and Carlos Correa to win the first game of the series Friday at 5-4. But they lost by a wide margin in Game 2 of the SCLA.
McCullers was not added to Houston’s championship series roster due to a sore pronator muscle in his right arm. He worked 6 2/3 scoreless innings in the Astros 6-1 win over the Chicago White Sox in the first game of their division series. He started Game 4 but had to abandon it after four innings due to injury.
McCullers said he felt something on his arm when he slider Gavin Sheets with two outs in the fourth inning of that game. He was able to finish the inning, but he knew something was wrong.
He was feeling better on Saturday, but still couldn’t pitch. His availability for an eventual World Series in the event Houston advances is still unknown.
“We are going to have to see how I progress, see how I feel in the next few days,” he said. “We are in a fight against time. I have to shoot before I can play a game. Today was better than yesterday, so I hope to continue like this and we’ll see.”
McCullers, 28, signed a five-year, $ 85 million deal in March, and had the best season of his career.
He set career highs with 13 wins, 3.16 ERAs and 185 strikeouts to lead a rotation in which Justin Verlander was not active all season as he recovers from Tommy John surgery.