The Houston Astros sent their young rising star, 21-year-old, Lance McCullers to the mound to face the Baltimore Orioles Wednesday night and make his fourth Major League career start.
The Astros plagued with problems early in the season with injuries to their pitching staff, reached down to Double-A ball and called up McCullers from the Corpus Christi Hooks to the Major League roster on May 18. He became the second-youngest pitcher in club history to make his debut in a start at Minute Maid Park, the youngest being LHP Carlos Hernandez, another 21-year-old on August 18, 2001.
McCullers is in his fourth professional season since being drafted by Houston in the supplemental 1st round (41st overall) in 2012. He is the 3rd player this year to make his Major League debut for the surprising first-place Houston Astros, joining outfielder Preston Tucker (May 7) and right-handed pitcher Asher Wojciechowski (April 9).
The young gun has been impressive early on, striking out five, six and seven batters respectively in each of his three Major League starts. He has shown signs of improvements in each of starts.
His last start came on May 28 against the Chicago White Sox when he took the hill opposite another rising star in the American League, left-handed pitcher Carlos Rodon. That night McCullers allowed two runs, only one of them earned, on five hits in his 4.1 innings on the mound, while walking two and striking out seven.
If there was any concerns about McCullers being able to go deep into a game, they were erased Thursday night when he pitched a complete game as the Astros handed the Orioles a 3-1 loss, to secure a series win.
On the night, McCullers scattered four hits, did not walk a batter, struck out five and retired 16 of the final batters he faced, to improve to 2-0, with a 1.33 ERA.
After four starts at the Major League level, it’s safe to say that the next time McCullers sees Corpus Christi is when he’ll be flying over the city in June, to make a start against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
McCullers, a rising star in Texas, was the brightest star on Wednesday night.