Houston Astros ace Lance McCullers Jr. is likely out for the remainder of the season, reports Jon Heyman. McCullers was hopeful to come back if the Astros were to advance to the World Series but his forearm injury seems to have taken longer to heal than originally thought.
Heyman reports that it is muscular and should be fine, but the Astros will have to put together a makeshift rotation for another series if the Astros advance.
The current series has shown some difficult starts for the current Astros rotation, so much so that Dusty Baker had to start Zack Greinke in limited action in Game 4. With McCullers out for possibly a second series the question will be who will general manager James Click utilize from the taxi squad or will the Astros keep the same staff he currently has lined up from the pen?
Blake Taylor was promoted along with Jake Odorizzi to stock the bullpen with more arms and both have been used sparingly. Taylor has pitched 2.2 innings while the Astros were behind in Games 2 and 3, and Odorizzi gave up four in four innings of relief in Game 2, neither of which give comfort to Astros fans and Baker alike.
What possibly could change if the Astros advance to the World Series? Baker could give strong consideration to adding early season starter Christian Javier to the rotation, who has thrown 7.2 collective innings through three appearances out of the pen for the Astros. This included a crucial three-inning shutout outing in Game 4.
Javier is 3-1 with a 3.14 ERA in nine games started this season and could be bumped up to second starter as both Luis Garcia and Jose Urquidy struggled in their starts this postseason.
I for one would like to see a Valdez, Javier, Urquidy and Greinke (bullpen game) rotation if the Astros get the chance to move on to the World Series. As for McCullers, Astros fans wish him well and a speedy recovery and look to his leadership from the dugout for the rest of the year.