Following the Astros' loss to the Yankees in Game 3 of the ALDS on Monday (NYY 8, HOU 1), Houston manager A.J. Hinch announced that right-hander Lance McCullers would be his starter for Tuesday's Game 4 in the Bronx.
About the decision, Hinch had this to say Monday night:
"He's a really good pitcher. He's got really electrifying stuff, some of the best stuff in the big leagues. ... big-time breaking ball. The whole league knows it. He's got a really good fastball. He had a really good bullpen in between his last outing and the next outing tomorrow.
"I don't have to remind all you guys, he was an All-Star to start the year, he has some of the best stuff in the big leagues and we believe in him."
The 24-year-old McCullers pitched to a 4.25 ERA (93 ERA+) with a 3.30 K/BB ratio in 22 starts and 118 2/3 innings this season. McCullers faded badly in the second half before missing more than a month with lower back problems. He still struggled following his return from the DL. McCullers will come into Game 4 having failed to log a quality start since June 8.
However, in two starts against the Yankees this season (one of which occurred in the second half), McCullers put up an ERA of 2.38 with 13 strikeouts against just two walks. Hitters currently on the Yankee roster have combined to hit .210/.290/.310 against McCullers in 62 plate appearances.
On the other side, Sonny Gray will go for the host Yankees in Game 4. Going into that contest, the Astros lead the best-of-seven series by a margin of two games to one.