Lance McCullers' season had two negative bookends of shoulder and elbow DL stints, which no doubt helps explain the 1.54 WHIP he posted in between. The fact that his WHIP shot up from 2015's 1.19 without any change to his 3.22 ERA speaks to how well he pitched in traffic. His 81.4 LOB% tied for the fourth highest with Kyle Hendricks and Danny Duffy among starters (minimum 80 IP). His ability to generate weak contact so consistently (fifth-lowest hard contact rate) and to keep the ball on the ground when in play (third in GB%) while also limiting contact in the first place (his 30 percent strikeout rate was sixth-best) were instrumental in his strand success. Despite the injuries that curbed his workload, there were enough positives from the half-season to be excited about the 23-year-old going forward. Early winter checkups report the elbow -- which was the second of the injuries -- won't delay the start of his 2017. The young flamethrower with a devastating swing-and-miss curve has shown major promise in 206.2 innings as a big leaguer. Buy in bulk.
McCullers (foot) allowed four runs on six hits over 3.1 innings Saturday, Brian McTaggart of the Astros' official site reports. He didn't walk anyone but hit two batters and threw a wild pitch. McCullers didn't fool too many batters Saturday and needed 83 pitches to get his 10 outs, so he wasn't very efficient. On the bright side, he's on schedule to take the ball when the regular season opens. His five-day routine lines him up to pitch the third game of the season.
McCullers (foot) will start either the second or third game of the regular season, Brian McTaggart of the Astros' official site reports. McCullers, who was forced to leave his last start due to a foot injury, will make his fourth spring start Saturday against the Nationals. The injury was not considered serious at the time, a notion supported by manager A.J. Hinch penciling him in for a start during the first rotation of the regular season. The only thing to be determined is the rotation's order. As expected, Hinch named Dallas Keuchel the Opening Day starter followed by McCullers and Charlie Morton in a yet-to-be-determined order.
McCullers (foot) said that he was forced to leave Sunday's Grapefruit League game against the Yankees because a hole ripped open in his cleat, causing his foot to hit against the dirt on each pitch, Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle reports. McCullers also added that he's "fine," so it doesn't appear that he's overly concerned about the injury. He may require some time to let the foot heal, but his long-term health shouldn't be affected. He'll remain listed as day-to-day.
McCullers exited Sunday's Grapefruit League game against the Yankees after 3.2 innings with an apparent foot injury, Brian McTaggert of MLB.com reports. Astros manager A.J. Hinch said in an interview that McCullers was bleeding through his shoe. The severity of his foot injury is currently unclear, but more information should hopefully be available following Sunday's game.
MCcullers allowed two runs on four hits while striking out six over three innings in his second spring start Tuesday, Hunter Atkins of the Houston Chronicle reports. There was a lot of good in McCullers' outing, evidenced by the six strikeouts, and a little bit of bad. His fastball touched the upper 90s and the curve was in mid-season form. He got himself into a first-and-third jam with one out in the first inning, before he struck out the final two batters on breaking pitches. The one mistake was a hanging changeup to Yoenis Cespedes after the right-handed McCullers had nibbled his way to a 3-and-1 count. He's next scheduled to pitch Sunday.