The Astros start Lance McCullers today against Sonny Gray.
Not much went well for the Astros in Game 3 of the ALCS. It seemed like the Yankees hit the ball where the Astros weren’t, and the offense couldn’t get anything going. Most people predicted that C.C. Sabathia would be difficult for the Stros the hit. Unfortunately, that prediction came true as Sabathia shut them down for six innings.
While Sabathia was a tough matchup, Sonny Gray can be beaten. The Astros offense that carried the team all year needs to wake up. It doesn’t matter if the pitcher throws a shutout if the team doesn’t score. On that note, the pitchers must keep the game close to give the offense a chance.
With yesterday’s win, some would say that the Yankees have regained the momentum of the series. They were in the same situation as they were in the ALDS down 0-2, then they reeled off three straight wins. Also of note is how well Aaron Judge played last night. As he goes, so do the Yankees.
Houston still up 2-1 in the series.
The Astros still have a big advantage with the Yankees still needing to beat Dallas Keuchel and Justin Verlander to advance. At home, the Yankees are a different team. With the critical Game 4 matchup today, the Astros announced that Lance McCullers with getting the start over Brad Peacock.
McCullers has a bright future but has so far been hampered by injuries. We have seen glimpses of the ace he can be but has struggled to pitch more than three effective innings.
In Game 3 of the ALDS, McCullers made a relief appearance. He was cruising through three innings matching zeros with David Price but started off the next inning with a walk and a single. That was all A.J. Hinch allowed him to pitch that night with Chris Devenski coming into the game. Both runners scored, closing McCullers stat sheet from the night.
McCullers needs to go deep into the game.
If that sounds familiar, that happened last night versus the Yankees. Charlie Morton was removed before Will Harris allowed the homer to Judge. This will be McCullers first playoff start since Game 4 of the 2015 ALDS. He will be ready to prove that he belongs in the rotation and will make a case for another start if needed.
Peacock will be available to pitch today.
Peacock had a coming out party in 2017 with a 13-2 record and a 3.00 ERA. There is a case that he was the most reliable reliever all year with other starters injuries. Peacock averaged 11 strikeouts per nine innings pitched this year, he should have gotten the start right?
Fresh on Hinch’s mind was his last appearance lasting only 2 2/3 innings in the ALDS. While Peacock was more reliable in the regular season, you can’t take away the stuff of McCullers. While Brian McCann was still on the Yankees, he raved about McCullers pitching. He has added the power curveball this year
While today’s game is not a must win, they would like to win this game to save Verlander for the next round. Before we can worry about advancing, the Astros bats need to rally behind the first time All-Star McCullers.
After a hot start earning him a spot on the All-Star roster, McCullers had trouble staying healthy and productive. He finished with a 7-4 record with a 4.25 ERA. Hopefully, McCullers earns history today.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***