Astros: Lance McCullers’ latest start was a step in the right direction
By Cody Poage
When the Astros are fully healthy, well, look out baseball world.
Lance McCullers joins Dallas Keuchel and Justin Verlander as the Astros‘ top trio of starting pitchers. If healthy, this starting rotation has the potential to match up well in any postseason series.
If healthy. This is the key phrase this morning.
As you likely know, the Astros have been without the services of Keuchel and McCullers for extended amounts of time this season. In fact, Houston’s starting rotation relied heavily upon a combination of Brad Peacock, Mike Fiers and others in their absence. Even Charlie Morton, the team’s current fourth starter, missed some time earlier this summer.
Heck, they didn’t even have Verlander on the roster till the last minute of August 31st.
Like I stated a moment ago, the health of the Astros is the key phrase.
Fast forward to the first week of September, and the Astros’ starting rotation looks remarkably like a healthy one.
McCullers’ latest start on September 6th in Seattle is a step in the right direction.
This start by McCullers was arguably his best one since June 24th in Seattle. Don’t forget that McCullers had a largely forgettable stretch of starts from June 30th through July 30th.
24 IP, 38 H, 25 R (23 ER), 13 BB, 21 SO, 8.63 ERA, 3.63 FIP
Enter any Scooby-Doo reference you may like.
Anyway, McCullers did not look the McCullers we fondly remembered from earlier in the season. If memory serves me correctly, and it may not, the 23-year old was suffering from a back ailment that prevented him from pitching efficiently. The Astros then decided another trip to the disabled list was in order.
So, McCullers didn’t pitched at all in the month of August. But the results yesterday are encouraging.
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Only time will tell if McCullers can continue his improvement. One start is just one start. It is hard to draw upon anything concrete without more a sample. But I wouldn’t blame you if you were feeling better about the Astros’ rotation following this latest start.
**Statistics and information courtesy of Fangraphs and Baseball Savant**