Lance McCullers Jr. Shines in Return for Houston Astros
Right-hander Lance McCullers Jr. couldn’t have pitched any better in his return for the Houston Astros on Saturday as he led his team to another win.
The Houston Astros have been waiting a very long time for Lance McCullers Jr. to make his return, but he finally took the mound for the first time in 10 months on Saturday against a weak Oakland Athletics team. It was the perfect time for the return because the Astros needed another solid starter in the rotation, especially with the playoffs right around the corner.
Lance McCullers Jr. threw 81 pitches and six shutout innings against the Athletics and finished with a line of: 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 K, 4 BB, 2 H
Along with that final line, his advanced stats for his start look even better. He had a .161 BABIP (Batting Average on Balls In Play), 3.45 FIP (Fielder Independent Pitching on ERA scale), and a solid GB% (Ground Ball Percentage) of 41.7%.
As of now, the Astros realistically only need six or seven innings out of McCullers Jr. every start. Keeping his pitch count around 80 to save his arm for the playoffs would be the best scenario possible for Lance and the Astros, and that’s exactly what they did yesterday.
We can’t forget how great McCullers Jr. has been for Houston in the playoffs over the years. In 16 games pitched in the postseason, he has a 2.83 ERA, 62 K, and 18 BB in 57.1 innings pitched. If he stays healthy for the postseason, it poses a huge threat to other teams’ lineups.
McCullers Jr.’s next start looks to be on August 19th against the defending world champions, the Atlanta Braves. This will be his first big test this season and it’ll come in a huge series, as the Astros will try to make a statement against the team that beat them in the World Series last year.