The inopportune injuries just keep piling on for the Astros.
Not again, Astros!
This time Astros’ pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. will miss his next start due to arm fatigue.
Definitely not good news.
Mike Fiers instead will get start tonight against the Angels. Remember he was recently placed in the bullpen from the starting rotation last week.
Health has been a big concern for the Astros pitching staff this season. Moreover, health has been a concern for Lance McCullers Jr. dating back to last season.
In 2016, McCullers visited the DL twice, once for a sore right shoulder and second for a right elbow discomfort. This year, he has been to the DL twice for lower back discomfort. In such a pivotal time of the season, this news creates more concern around his ability to pitch effectively this postseason.
McCullers’ Role this Postseason
McCullers is one of the best young talents in baseball. He has great stuff, and the ability to shut down hitters. However, he does have one of the most dynamic deliveries in the game. He is susceptible to injury. With Justin Verlander, Dallas Keuchel, Collin McHugh and Charlie Morton in the rotation, why not let McCullers work from the bullpen?
Better Suited for Short Outings
In no way am I saying McCullers is a permanent relief pitcher, but a role in the bullpen gives him room to grow. His pitch count will decrease and his usage limited as he develops into a prolific starting pitcher. He is an impact pitcher, the Astros need that from the bullpen in the postseason. He can give the Astros two or three solid innings of relief, that is so valuable to both the team and himself. McCullers can take a step back to take two steps forward next year.
Follow the Evidence
Regardless of his talent, McCullers is still developing as a pitcher. As much as he wants to be a starter, working as a reliever will him build the proper mechanics to excel in the rotation later. For example, Brad Peacock was nowhere near as effective when he came to the Astros. Although he came in as a reliever, Peacock was able to work his craft and found an effective method for the mound. Now, fans much rather see him in the rotation.
All in all, McCullers is a valuable pitcher to this organization. However, he must overcome the recurring injuries before returning to the rotation.