"I'm really excited," McCullers said. "[Manager A.J. Hinch] told me a couple of days ago I was likely getting the nod. He told me he would let me know in a couple of days, and I'm excited, because either way it's going to be a big game for us."
McCullers, 22, went 6-7 with a 3.22 ERA in 22 starts this year, including a complete-game win over the Orioles on June 3 in his fourth Major League start. He last pitched Sunday at Arizona and allowed three runs (two earned) and six hits in five innings in the regular-season finale.
McCullers was 4-1 with a 1.86 ERA in 10 home starts.
In 125 2/3 innings with Houston this year, McCullers has allowed 106 hits, 43 walks and struck out 129 batters. The Astros are 8-14 in games he's started. McCullers beat the Royals on June 29 in Houston, holding them to one run and four hits in seven innings.
"I think I had a good plan of attack," McCullers said. "They're a great team. They play all types of baseball. They can play small ball and hit the ball out of the park. They just do everything the right way. They have a bunch of guys that can run. It's a tough challenge, but at the end of the day, you have to trust yourself and your stuff and trust your plan, and everything is going to work out."