After a nightmarish outing while visiting the Texas Rangers, rookie right-hander Lance McCullers was optioned to Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks on Aug. 3 due to innings limitation along with Vince Velasquez.
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The Astros will welcome the Detroit Tigers for a weekend three-game set, Tampa Bay Rays for a four-game set on Monday, then the N.L. West Los Angeles Dodgers next weekend in what should be an entire stretch of great games and the opportunity to extend their lead in the division.
They only lead the Los Angeles Angels by two games with the Rangers closing in at 5 1/2.
When taking a look at McCullers monthly statistics, the 21-year-old allowed only four earned runs in May, another nine across six starts in June, eight in July but started August with six on seven hits including a home run on 43 pitches.
Despite heading back to the minor league circuit, he wasn’t scheduled for any work with the Hooks. His last appearance as a minor leaguer occurred on April 12 where he worked five scoreless innings while issuing three walks and recording seven strikeouts in a game against the Tulsa Drillers – a Dodgers affiliate.
On the other hand, another young arm that was also sent down, Vince Velasquez, has made an appearance on the mound for the Hooks. Velasquez was tagged for three earned runs including a home run in only 2/3 of an inning against Oakland’s affiliate, the Midland Rockhounds.
"“You want your guys to do well and be sharp before they come back. Rosters expand here in a couple weeks, which, we’ve got to start those discussions a little bit over the next couple weeks, to see who will be coming up with us. You certainly want your guys to be doing well.” – A.J. Hinch via Houston Chronicle"
There’s no doubt that the Houston Astros will be in the postseason in the months to come. They have one of the brightest teams in the league but need to work out a couple of kinks along the way or they’ll be eliminated early on.
Last night’s starter, Scott Feldman, held the defending World Champions to four hits across six scoreless innings in the 2-0 shutout. If he’s able to duplicate that outing over the course of the final months of the campaign, McCullers and Velasquez could end up battling it out for a spot in the bottom half of the rotation.