McCullers to rejoin Astros as club sets rotation plans for playoff chase
Rookie right-hander Lance McCullers will rejoin the Houston Astros' starting rotation this weekend, it was announced by manager A.J. Hinch on Wednesday.
McCullers, optioned by the Astros to Double-A Corpus Christi on August 3, was sent down in part so the club could monitor his workload. He threw three innings of work on Tuesday night in preparation for his Houston return on Sunday, when he'll match up against the visiting Los Angeles Dodgers and tough ace Clayton Kershaw.
Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle notes that the club intends to use McCullers the rest of the regular season, as long as he pitches well. Prior to being sent down, McCullers amassed a 3.17 ERA in 14 starts with Houston since being promoted earlier in the year.
Hinch explained the Astros' game plan regarding the starting staff: They'll mix and match according to what the schedule dictates. Said Hinch to Drellich to that effect, "It’s not out of the question to insert guys here and there and make it a six-man for a particular stretch. There’s one stretch this September where we have (at the end of the month, 19 of 20) days where we play."
What that essentially means, says Hinch, is that Houston wants the best possible matchup for a given series, depending on the opponent: “Trying to maximize the opportunity against your opponent. When we match up against the Yankees, I want the three best guys that are available to pitch to pitch.”
McCullers is part of the equation and will have an opportunity to contribute to the Astros' efforts to keep hold of their lead in the AL West.
(h/t Houston Chronicle)