Mike Fiers' 2015 season got off to a slow start. By the end of May, he was sitting with a 4.53 ERA, and he had exceeded six innings in only one of his 10 starts. As the season developed, Fiers settled in, and he recorded a 3.36 ERA with 117 strikeouts over his final 128 2/3 innings. His final nine starts (plus a relief appearance) came with Houston, and that's where Fiers will begin 2016, though he will be competing against Scott Feldman for the final rotation spot. The former Brewer has yet to establish consistency, but he has had enough stretches of effectiveness to trust with a late-round pick in standard mixed leagues.
McCullers will be placed under restrictions with the intention to keep him ready for the playoffs, Astros GM Jeff Luhnow said on MLB Network Radio. The actual level of restriction was unspecified, but it can be estimated looking at McCullers' previous workload. After two straight seasons spent throwing approximately 100 innings in the minors, the 22-year-old threw a career-high 157.2 innings between the majors and Double-A. That mark also included a 19-day stint at Corpus Christi in the middle of his tenure at Houston in which he only started one game, the plan being to give him some time to rest. With that 157.2 inning mark in mind, it seems reasonable to think McCullers won't be restricted too much below the 200-inning mark. This definitely hurts his upside, but probably not in a way that a solid backup can't fix for a few weeks.
Astros pitcher Lance McCullers allowed two runs on two hits and two walks with seven strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings Monday during Game 4 of the American League Division Seriest Kansas City. He was in line for the win, but did not factor into the decision as the Royals tagged the bullpen for seven runs. The 22-year-old rookie displayed great poise in his first career playoff start. He surrendered a two-run homer to Salvador Perez in the second inning, but settled down thereafter, permitting only a single, walk and a hit batter before A.J. Hinch put the game in the hands of his relievers. Fresh off a remarkable rookie season and promising playoff debut, McCullers will certainly open 2016 with a spot in the starting rotation.
Astros rookie pitcher Lance McCullers will start Game 4 of the American League Division Series if necessary, Brian Taggart of MLB.com reports. McCullers will face off against Game 1 starter Yordano Ventura if the series extends that far. In his first season in the majors, the 22 year old was dynamic, posting a 3.22 ERA and 1.19 WHIP with a 129:43 K:BB in 125 2/3 innings.
Astros starter Lance McCullers (6-7) allowed three runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks with six strikeouts over five innings Sunday against Arizona. He did not factor into the decision. In 22 starts during the regular season, he finished with a respectable 3.22 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 129:43 K:BB ratio over 125 2/3 innings. Considering he just turned 22 years old a few days ago, those are excellent numbers. His 3.33 FIP suggests his success wasn't a fluke either. Coming off a strong rookie season, McCullers is a near-lock to open 2016 in the Houston rotation.
Astros pitcher Lance McCullers won his sixth game behind a quality start Monday against Seattle, as he allowed two runs on four hits and two walks over six innings. He also struck out seven. Since a blowup against the Rangers to open August, McCullers has been lights out, with quality starts in six of his seven starts. He now has a 44:13 K:BB in that span. Still, Monday marked McCullers's first victory since July 29 against the Angels, a much needed reprieve after a stint in which the Astros scored more than three runs for him just twice. His ERA is down to 3.21.