McCullers Left Off ALCS Roster with Forearm Injury

Lance McCullers will miss the ALCS with a forearm injury.
Lance McCullers will miss the ALCS with a forearm injury. Photo by Jack Gorman
click to enlarge Lance McCullers will miss the ALCS with a forearm injury. - PHOTO BY JACK GORMAN
Lance McCullers will miss the ALCS with a forearm injury.
Photo by Jack Gorman
Lance McCullers, Jr., who had become the staff ace over this season, was left off the team's roster for the ALCS against the Red Sox due to forearm tightness he suffered during game four of the ALDS in Chicago. McCullers, who had Tommy John surgery in 2018, signed a new five-year contract this past offseason and became the Astros best pitcher in 2021.

McCullers had an MRI on Thursday, but the results had not been revealed as of writing this making his status for the World Series, were the Astros to advance, unclear.

To replace him, the Astros added Jake Odorizzi to the roster along with reliever Blake Taylor.

No one believed this series between two of the best offenses in baseball was going to be a pitchers duel, but the loss of McCullers only increases the difficulties for a staff that hasn't been great outside of their ace. Odorizzi, who has experience, was up and down (more down than up, actually) all season. By carrying 13 pitchers, it is clear the Astros believe they will need to lean on their bullpen this series.

McCullers would not have been available until game three since he pitched in game four of the ALDS, but it did make him a possible game seven starter if the series reached that point. Now, the Astros will need to figure out how to work around the loss.

It's a devastating blow to the Astros chances of getting back to the World Series, but there is also the worry of the potential long-term impacts of an injury to one of the Astros most promising young pitchers. McCullers, 27, finished second in the AL in ERA and finally seemed to be coming into his own after an injury-plagued career.

For now, the Astros will need to carry on without him against one of the best offensive lineups in baseball.
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Jeff Balke is a writer, editor, photographer, tech expert and native Houstonian. He has written for a wide range of publications and co-authored the official 50th anniversary book for the Houston Rockets.
Contact: Jeff Balke