Astros turn to ace McCullers for Game 4

October 12th, 2021

CHICAGO -- The Astros will give the ball to ace pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. on Tuesday with a chance to clinch the American League Division Series.

Monday’s rainout pushed Game 4 to a 1:07 p.m. CT first pitch Tuesday, which allows the Astros to start McCullers on a full four days of rest instead of José Urquidy. McCullers threw 6 2/3 scoreless innings in the Astros’ 6-1 win in Game 1 on Thursday and can send the Astros to their fifth straight AL Championship Series with a win.

The White Sox are sticking with left-hander Carlos Rodón in Game 4. 

The Astros lead the best-of-five series, 2-1, after losing Game 3, 12-6, on Sunday in Chicago. 

If the Astros can’t close out the White Sox in Game 4, they would have left-hander Framber Valdez ready to pitch in a winner-take-all Game 5 on Wednesday in Houston.  

In his Game 1 start in Houston, McCullers allowed just one hit through six innings and was pulled after 104 pitches with two outs in the seventh. He gave up four singles, struck out four and didn’t walk a batter for the first time this year.

McCullers has dominated the White Sox this year. In three starts, he’s 3-0 with a 1.37 ERA, 0.71 WHIP with eight hits allowed and 19 strikeouts in 19 2/3 innings. He had the best season of his career in 2021, going 13-5 with a 3.16 ERA, which ranked second best in the AL. 

McCullers has actually pitched better on the road (7-2, 2.70 ERA) than at home (6-3, 3.51 ERA) in the regular season, so the Astros are well-positioned to be able to close out the Sox with McCullers on the mound.