Lance McCullers will be the game one starter against the Chicago White Sox.
The White Sox will be getting a heavy dose of Lance McCullers at the start of the series. That’s because Astros manager, Dusty Baker, has given McCullers the ball for Game 1 of the ALDS.
McCullers has earned this assignment and the White Sox will have their hands full. The 28-year old right-hander has the lowest ERA amongst Astros starting pitchers with a 3.16 mark. He has also racked up 185 strikeouts and held opponents to a .205 batting average.
He has ample postseason experience as well. He has pitched in 14 games, making seven starts over the course of his postseason career. McCullers has a solid 3.28 ERA in those 14 postseason appearances. He even earned a save during the 2017 ALCS.
McCullers’ slider is his most devasting weapon. It has one of the highest spin rates in baseball. His slider compliments a 97 mph sinker that keeps hitters off-balance. The White Sox saw firsthand how nasty McCullers slider is. They have already faced him twice this season and McCullers came out of the contest as the winning pitcher each time.
In his first start against the White Sox, he allowed two runs on two hits over six innings. He was able to work around four walks and was credited with a quality start.
On July 16th, the White Sox met up with McCullers in Chicago. This time the results were even worse for the Southside Hitmen. McCullers threw seven innings of one-run ball. He only allowed two hits and victimized the White Sox for 10 strikeouts. Both of the White Sox hits came in the first inning. They could only muster two walks the rest of the day on him.
The slider was a deadly weapon for him against the Sox. Brian Goodwin got caught looking at one, while Zack Collins, Tim Anderson, Adam Engel, Jose Abreu, Andrew Vaughn, and Leury Garcia all went fishing. The White Sox need to solve McCullers slider if they hope to start off the series on the right foot.