Astros: Return of pitcher opens door for odd rotation decision

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The Houston Astros are welcoming back starting pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. from an injury, and they’re throwing him right into the rotation.

The Houston Astros are welcoming back starting pitcher Lance McCullers Jr., and they’re not wasting any time with his return.

He will be starting in Saturday’s game against the Oakland Athletics, despite being out since October of 2021 with a strained flexor tendon.

McCullers is undoubtedly talented. Through 2021, he produced an ERA of 3.16, batting average against of .205 and WHIP of 1.22. The Astros, overall, have several talented pitchers and currently sit at the top of the AL West standings, well above .500.

He produced results that made him an option for a Cy Young Award. However, he’s been out for nearly a year. Throwing him into the starting rotation too soon could hurt the team’s success.

Prematurely adding Lance McCullers Jr. to the starting rotation could hurt Astros

Whatever strategy the Astros have used this season is working well for them, and they shouldn’t be so quick to change it. McCullers has a lot of potential, but his success is unpredictable considering a major injury and lack of playing time over the past year.

Houston isn’t in dire need of upgrading their roster. Among the entire league, they currently have the second-best ERA (2.99), best opponent batting average (.210) and second-best WHIP (1.09).

According to CBS Sports, “McCullers for his career has accumulated a 3.57 ERA (116 ERA+) and a 2.74 strikeout-to-walk ratio, as well as 9.7 Wins Above Replacement, according to Baseball-Reference’s calculations.”

He should absolutely be considered for the starting rotation, but throwing him in too soon could backfire on Houston and hurt their success.

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