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McCullers available to close out Game 6

October 31, 2017

LOS ANGELES -- Unlike the Dodgers, who named Yu Darvish their starting pitcher if the World Series goes to a Game 7 on Wednesday, Astros manager A.J. Hinch didn't name one prior to Tuesday's Game 6. Lance McCullers lines up to pitch Game 7, but Hinch said the right-hander could

LOS ANGELES -- Unlike the Dodgers, who named Yu Darvish their starting pitcher if the World Series goes to a Game 7 on Wednesday, Astros manager A.J. Hinch didn't name one prior to Tuesday's Game 6. Lance McCullers lines up to pitch Game 7, but Hinch said the right-hander could be available to close out Game 6, if needed.
"I think it's a possibility," Hinch said. "I think all bets are off. You just try to win the game. I think saving things for the unknown is probably not the way to go. But obviously it starts with [Justin] Verlander. We'll see what he can give and how long he can be in the game. And the National League rules with pinch-hitting, does he get to pitch deep in the game or does the game situation dictate otherwise?
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"I think you play to win the game tonight. I think if you complicate it and try to manage two games at once, you'll find yourself having two games. And so if we need to use our guys to win the game, I'll do it."
Family sticking together
Hinch's family, including his wife, Erin, and two teenage daughters, have traveled with him throughout the postseason. Hinch said his daughters have been to school only six days in October as they followed their dad to Boston, New York and Los Angeles.
"As a Stanford grad, it's hard for me to pull my kids out of school," Hinch said. "But they've been with us. My kids and my wife have been with us. And there's so much of this story behind the scenes. All of us in baseball cherish our families and what they sacrifice for us to live out this dream and do this crazy stuff.
"So the nervous energy is real. The trick-or-treating in the hotel will suffice, because I think this is special circumstances. So is missing school. But you should stay in school."
Team bonding 
Veteran Astros catcher Brian McCann purchased a suite at Staples Center on Monday night so he and a handful of his teammates could watch the Clippers-Warriors game. In April, when the Astros were rained out in Oakland, McCann treated his teammates to a suite at Oracle Arena.
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"I've been on a lot of teams, and I think a lot of winning teams will always brag about their chemistry and the culture and the camaraderie," Hinch said. "To live it is pretty special. And it started back in the spring. ... I think it's hard to measure. But when you see the postseason, we've celebrated every win in grand fashion, like to the extreme, with strobe lights and music and the [wrestling] belt. These guys all create that chemistry among themselves.
"It doesn't surprise me at all with what McCann has brought, specifically in those type of things. And there's perfect attendance pretty much at these team dinners or team parties. We've had multiple guys. [Luke] Gregerson hosted it at his house in Chicago. It just never stops for this team in building this bond that will forever be together if we pull this out."

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.