Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker revealed after Houston’s series-clinching win over the Chicago White Sox that starting pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. was pulled after four innings due to right forearm tightness.
Baker, who called the hurler a “warrior,” appeared to think McCullers’ status for the American League Championship Series against the Boston Red Sox could be in question, but the right-hander indicated differently after the game.
“I felt fine until toward the end of the fourth,” McCullers said, as seen on MLB Network’s postgame coverage. “At that point, the game was 5-1, something like that, felt like I’d thrown the ball really well for the team, and figured with the lineup coming back around for the third time — I wasn’t on short rest necessarily, but my routine was short. … Physically I was fine, I just had a little shorter week than normal so I figured I was in a good spot for our bullpen to take over.”
He allowed one run on five hits with five strikeouts in those four frames Tuesday.
McCullers is the clear ace of the Astros staff this season, and Houston would be worse off if he was dealing with anything injury-wise. He went 13-5 with a 3.16 ERA in 28 starts during the regular season and followed that up with an impressive Game 1 win as he threw 6 2/3 scoreless innings with four hits allowed.
Houston will open its series against the Red Sox with Game 1 scheduled for Friday.