Lance McCullers Jr. Likely Unavailable for the ALCS

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Well, those good vibes didn’t last long. Following a pair of impressive performances against the White Sox in the ALDS, Lance McCullers Jr. is likely unavailable for at least the ALCS.

However, the club hasn’t officially announced whether McCullers will miss any time at this juncture. A second opinion is being sought before any hard decisions are made.

For the Astros, this development is an obvious blow to their championship aspirations. McCullers was not only the club’s top starter this season, he was also among the best in baseball with a 3.16 ERA and 27 percent strikeout rate in 162 1/3 innings. Thanks to a newly-added slider to his already formidable arsenal, the right-hander took his performance to a new level in 2021. His offseason contract extension now looks more like a bargain than ever before.

But where do the Astros go from here as it pertains to the ALCS against the Red Sox? After all, losing a pitcher who limited the White Sox to a single run across 10 2/3 innings is sub-optimal, no matter how optimistic you might be about the rest of the roster. One option is to bump either Zack Greinke or Jake Odorizzi back to the rotation following their recent stints in the bullpen. Honestly, it will probably be the former as Greinke was pitching reasonably well prior to a second half slump.

Regardless, it is within reason to see the Astros resort to a piggyback situation where the starter goes three-to-five innings followed by the other in relief. In any case, I’d look for Odorizzi to make the ALCS roster if McCullers is listed as inactive. Another potential avenue is to utilize Cristian Javier as the opener and hope he gets through the opposing lineup at least once. If the Astros could figure out to replicate April’s version of Javier by any measure, then that would make for a nice surprise.

More news is likely to come by later today or tomorrow when the ALCS roster is officially set. Stay tuned.

Comments

Not to be naive, but

Click’s comments are an hour after the first tweet from a source that I am not to fond off, or impressed by. I tend to believe the local GM who has the latest update over someone who wants to be the first to get out a hot take. He very well may be shut down because they tend to lean conservative in these situations. In the old football days, we would have said rub some dirt on it, and get back out there.

Lance has never thrown a full season of pitches before his shoulder and elbow woes kicked up. Never.

Given that length history of injuries, and given how Dusty Baker killed Lance’s arm during the regular season when smart managers were saving their aces for the post-season, it was obvious the McCullers was going to be shelved, and unfortunate because it was all preventable but for Baker.

As long as Bielak is not starting a game... we are conceding a single game...

…there’s a reason why we considered a 6-man rotation all season long anyways. And we just need 4 of the 6 to be available and effective.

Well this sucks.

Valdez and Garcia were going Games 1 and 2 anyway but now it’ll be up to Urquidy in Game 3. Hopefully he can do what he did in Game 4 of the 2019 World Series and lead us to victory. That and have the offense do to the Red Sox what they did to the White Sox.

I guess Odorizzi goes Game 4 now. Jake, this is your chance to silence everyone who criticized you this year.

I really think Urquidy will shine in this series

And game 4 could be Odo for 4 innings followed by Greinke. Having Lance would be ideal, but the sky is not falling.

I'm not worried...

What? Me worried?

Odo was usually good to start with

Just can’t leave him in for too many looks

I hope Greinke remembers he would have won us another ring had AJ not pulled him two years ago.

Get some of that Cy Young magic back for one series. I also think now is the perfect time for Odo to back up all that frustration he vented last month as well.

gawdam Will Harris

100%

If some combination of Javier/Greinke/Odo can give us 6 innings between them per game (assuming the series goes to 7), that would cover Lance’s innings for the most part. If we can close the series out before 6, then it’s a moot point b/c Lance would only have pitched 1 game neways; implying that some combo of Javier/Greinke/Odo need to combine for a total of 6-7 innings. Odo is not bad through 5 innings, if we go analytical and pitch count restriction w/ both Greinke/Odo we may be able to get out of this unscathed.

It's a classic con-job. Old rope a dope.

Let Nightengale and Heyman tweet speculation – maybe their source is accurate but the Astros have run a tight ship in the past.

If they’re wrong – why add anything to disprove that. You don’t have to set the roster until tomorrow.

I saw LMJ drinking from a bottle held in his pitching hand

It can’t be that bad.

Meanwhile deep space satellites have picked up a disturbance under Minute Made park. Breathless speculation has it Javier, Greinke and Ordorizzi are waking like leviathans from their stupor.

IF this is true and I'm not conceding that it is

These are the remaining pitchers in 2021 ALCS from previous rosters:

2020 ALCS – Garcia, Javier, Pressly, Raley, Greinke, Urquidy and Valdez
2019 WS – Pressly, Greinke and Urquidy
2018 ALCS – Pressly
2017 WS – (zero)

They'll all get called "cheaters" anyway.

Seriously short on talent...

and we know who has all the momentum.

Well Dusty using him on short rest instead of trusting Urquidy was just hasty >

Any the matter , I think Greinke can handle the call >

It wasn’t short rest.

It was his natural day to pitch.

Accelerated off day prep, though

But yeah, normal rest between starts.

He did miss a preparation day when the start was moved up.

No way to know if it contributed to this and opinions won’t help.
I noticed a couple of batters before he went out that he was in trouble. Suggested getting Urquidy up, but could not see anything obviously wrong before he left the field.

...round up the battalion, Dante.

the battalion call!!!!!!!!!!

I have a bad feeling about this……..

Well said sir

So we're awaiting more news on Lance

Any update on Jake Meyers?

View All Comments
Back to top ↑