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Houston Astros: Lance McCullers to Triple-A, Dan Straily recalled

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Following the Houston Astros 12-9 loss to the Texas Rangers, the Astros made a roster move. They sent Lance McCullers Jr. to Triple-A Fresno and recalled RHP Dan Straily to make the start that was supposed to go to Mike Fiers, who was used in yesterday’s game to pitch five innings in relief. While many people would see this as a demotion, this decision has to do with saving some innings for September and October versus punishing him for the poor start.

The Astros know that their future is resting on the elbow and shoulders of McCullers and Vincent Velasquez, but they want to save some innings. As Issa wrote about here: Astros Roster Moves: Velasquez Down to AA, Fiers to Start Tuesday, Velasquez was sent down also to limit the innings on his arm. The Astros know that these two pitchers are needed on the team during a playoff run, so they don’t want to be in a position to have to shut them down. McCullers only threw 1/3 of an inning last night but threw 43 high-stress pitches.

As Brian McTaggart’s Tweet above, McCullers may not even pitch at Fresno, he is going just to throw some bullpens and save some innings for later. He is a budding star and down the road this would be just labeled as a bad day. The Astros still have plans for him in the rotation for the playoffs. Let’s take a look at McCuller’s stats before and after this game.

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Before August 3rd: 5 – 3/ 2.48 ERA/ 78 strikeouts in 76 1/3 innings.

After last night’s start: 5 – 4/ 3.17 ERA/ 79 strikeouts in 76 2/3 innings.

After giving up six runs with only getting one out, you would think his ERA would have skyrocketed. However, it sits at a decent 3.17 which is good for any pitcher, much less a rookie. Between Double-A and the Astros, McCullers has 105 2/3 innings total in 2015. While the Astros have not come out and set an innings limit, you could figure it to be between 150 and 180 this season. While these numbers could mean the regular season only, McCullers looks to make the potential postseason rotation while Velasquez could be destined for the bullpen as the flamethrowing pitcher in the bullpen.

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McCullers is probably as happy about going to the minors as he was being removed from last night’s game after getting only one out. As you can see by Jose de Jesus Ortiz’s Tweet above, he is confident the Astros will win, just not looking forward to being away from the team. Was this move already in the works or was it a decision after his performance last night? I believe that the Astros have been planning something to limit the innings, but because of having to use Fiers last night, they felt that now would be a good time to rest McCullers.

For a little information on Straily, he has made three big league starts this year and has last started July 31st. When he toes the rubber tomorrow, he will be doing so on three days rest from his last appearance.

Minors 2015: 8 – 6/ 3.65 ERA/ 92 strikeouts in 98 2/3 innings.

Astros 2015: 0-0/ 5.06 ERA/ 11 strikeouts in 10 2/3 innings.

Catch some Dan Straily news from the minors below.

What Does Dan Straily Offer for Astros Rotation? (w/interview)

Houston Astros Farm Report: Dan Straily and Tyler White Carrying Grizzlies

Houston Astros MiLB Players Of The Month: July (House of Houston)

Next: Houston Astros: Which AL Contenders Most Improved Team?

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