Lance McCullers Jr. experiencing forearm tightness as Astros head to ALCS


(SportsRadio 610) -- Astros ace Lance McCullers Jr. pitched masterfully in his two outings against the Chicago White Sox in the ALDS.

But as the Astros get ready for the Boston Red Sox in their fifth straight ALCS appearance, there is concern about McCullers' health.

Manager Dusty Baker pulled McCullers in the fifth inning of Tuesday's 10-1 clincher in Chicago, which at the time seemed like a curious move given how well he was pitching.

It turns out McCullers was experiencing forearm tightness in the fourth inning. With the Astros up 5-1 at that point in the game, McCullers and Baker did not want to take a chance making it worse.

"I just started getting tight at the beginning of the inning," McCullers told reporters after the game. "I got out of it. I was fine, but you know, in a 5-1 ballgame especially, 5-1, especially with how they came back on us a few nights ago, I felt like we had the off day yesterday. So our guys were pretty rested up. And I just told them, listen, I'm not 100 percent.

"So, you know, I pitched the whole fourth inning like that. I could probably do it, but I don't think it would be the best idea, and so they went to the pen and did a masterful job."

McCullers was pulled for Yimi Garcia, who pitched a scoreless inning and picked up the win. Phil Maton pitched 1.2 innings. Ryne Stanek pitched a third of an inning. Kendall Graveman and closer Ryan Pressly finished the final two innings for the Astros.

"We can't take any chances of injury, and I only pulled him because he was hurt," Baker said after the game. "And there is a difference between being hurt and being injured, and that's why we pulled him.

"That was disheartening news to me when the trainer came over and said that we got to take him out of the game. Lance is a warrior, and for him to come out of a game of that magnitude, you know, it had to be -- it had to be something, and we tried to stop it before it got serious."