Astros’ staff ace Lance McCullers Jr. was left off the list.
There haven’t been many pitchers in the league that have been as big-time as Lance McCullers Jr. has been over the past few seasons. As if any Astros’ faithful needed a reminder, in 2017, McCullers pitched four scoreless innings of relief in a 4–0 win over the New York Yankees in Game 7 of the American League Championship Series.
During what could have been a turning point in the game, after losing command and walking a batter, McCullers threw 24 consecutive curveballs to retire the last six Yankees in a row.
This earned him his first career save and sent the Astros to their first World Series since 2005 to face the Los Angeles Dodgers. In the following World Series, he made the start in Game 3 and again in Game 7. The Astros won the Series in the seventh game for the first title in franchise history.
The above Tweets didn’t age well for either of us. Not only did McCullers carry the rotation down the stretch, he went from a top 50 pitcher to pitching himself into the 2021 American League Cy Young conversation. He’s at worst in the top five in the American League.
McCullers finished the season with a record of 13-5 with a 3.16 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 185 strikeouts and only 77 walks over 162.1 innings pitched. I think it’s safe to say that Lance is coming into the American League Division series against the Chicago White Sox as one of the more feared pitchers Astros’ opponents will face this postseason.