Lance McCullers is the latest Astros starter to be hit with the injury bug.
Today is supposed to be the day where the Houston Astros draft their future star in the 2017 MLB Draft. Instead, we are now talking about another Astros starting pitcher hitting the disabled list. Lance McCullers will be placed on the 10-day DL with lower back discomfort. Not sure who was talking about McCullers last week on SportsTalk 790, but they made a point to say they were surprised he was the last one standing. Jinx?
After injuries have limited his first few seasons with the Astros, this was supposed to be his year to breakout. Which is exactly what he has done this year by posting a 6-1 record with a 2.58 ERA with 89 strikeouts in 76 2/3 innings. He has walked only 23 batters versus the 45 walks in 81 innings pitched last year.
Not a long stint on the DL?
Brian McTaggart reported that the Astros don’t feel like this will be a long stint on the DL. It is retroactive to June 9th, so let’s expect that he will only miss one start. This will most likely give Francis Martes a start in the big leagues in his absence. This most likely is just a preventative move with the Astros with a big lead in the AL West.
The Angels and Rangers are beginning to play better ball. However, the Rangers are very streaky this year, and the Angels have played the Astros well. This is a way for the Stros to limit some of the starters innings for September and beyond. If this were the end of the year, you wouldn’t have seen these guys go on the DL for precautionary reasons.
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For now, the Astros rotation will be Mike Fiers, Brad Peacock, Joe Musgrove, David Paulino, and Francis Martes. Collin McHugh might be ready to sometime in July, and there is no timetable on Charlie Morton. The expectation for Dallas Keuchel is probably to miss 1-2 starts, but they will be patient.
This shows the need to make a trade at the trade deadline because you can never have enough depth. Championship teams need to have the pitching depth to withstand injuries. That is what the Stros need at this moment because their depth is being tested. Jeff Luhnow said that they would wait until the deadline to make a trade to see who’s on the market.
McCullers could potentially be named to the AL All-Star team, so I hope that this is a minor injury. This is something that we have discussed on Talking Stros before, using the 10-day DL to rest pitchers. As long as these injuries are not major, let’s not be too worried about the pitcher’s injuries right now. It’s a long season.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***