World Series 2021: Astros without ace McCullers for Braves showdown

By Sports Desk October 25, 2021

The Houston Astros will be without ace Lance McCullers Jr. throughout the World Series due to a forearm strain.

McCullers – a World Series champion in 2017 – declared himself unavailable for the best-of-seven MLB showpiece on Monday, with the Astros-Atlanta Braves opener scheduled for Tuesday.

The starting pitcher left Game 4 of the American League Division Series (ALDS) against the Chicago White Sox due to forearm tightness and sat out the entire American League Championship Series (ALCS) clash with the Boston Red Sox.

"We're hoping that in a couple weeks, when I would pick up my normal offseason workout routine and things of that nature, that I won't have many restrictions," McCullers said as he expects to be ready for Spring Training in 2022.

"And then we can just flow into pitching in January. [Dr. Neal] ElAttrache has seen the MRI, things of that nature. He told us that he doesn't believe anything is wrong with the UCL, anything like that. Just a pretty solid forearm strain that I had there in Chicago.

"We knew that it was less than a one percent chance that I would have a role in this series, but there was no point to write me off until we had to."

An All-Star during Houston's World Series run in 2017, McCullers enjoyed the best season of his career as the 28-year-old finished with a 3.16 ERA – eclipsing his 3.22 mark in 2015.

McCullers achieved a career-high 185 strikeouts with a 13-5 win-loss record in 2021.

In his first start against the White Sox in the playoffs, McCullers kept the Chicago franchise scoreless through 6.2 innings with four strikeouts.

McCullers pitched 4.0 innings of one-run ball against the White Sox in Game 4, while striking out five batters.  

"The worst thing is I just feel like I can't be there for the team in the way they need me the most, which is on the field," McCullers said.

"…When you have a team like that, and you've been to the postseason so many times, and the World Series is your goal, Spring Training and the season is almost just something you have to do because this is where you want to be, this is where you hope to be.

"For me to not be able to pitch when I feel like these are the moments that I dream of, the moments I’m kind of built for, is probably the worst part."

Related items

  • Messi pleases PSG boss Pochettino despite drawing blank after Ballon d'Or celebration Messi pleases PSG boss Pochettino despite drawing blank after Ballon d'Or celebration

    Paris Saint-Germain head coach Mauricio Pochettino defended Lionel Messi after the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner fired a blank in Wednesday's 0-0 Ligue 1 draw at home to Nice.

    Messi was honoured pre-game in front of the Parc des Princes crowd following his record-extending Ballon d'Or title, but the superstar was unable to fire PSG to glory in the French capital midweek.

    Entering the contest having found the net three times in as many home games for runaway Ligue 1 leaders PSG, Messi attempted six shots, though only one was on target against Nice.

    It was Messi's highest tally without scoring in the league since April 2021 – seven with Barcelona against Real Madrid in LaLiga prior to his blockbuster Paris switch.

    "It must be my fault because with my football eye I always see Leo well, for something he has won seven Ballons d'Or, there is nothing more to say," Pochettino told reporters.

    "It is a pleasure and an honour to have him on our team."

    PSG registered 22 shots on goal – their highest tally without scoring in Ligue 1 since March 2016, with Angel Di Maria and Kylian Mbappe going closest to finding the back of the net, but were unable to break down their stubborn opponents.

    French powerhouse PSG conceded their first 0-0 home draw in Ligue 1 since February 2017 (against Toulouse). This was their first home draw in the top flight since November 2020 (2-2 against Bordeaux), ending a run of 20 games at home without sharing points (W16 L4).

    PSG, however, remain 12 points clear atop the table, though second-placed Marseille have played one game less.

    "When goals are not scored, what is lacking is to hit the mark, you shoot many times and the ball does not go in and other times it does," added Pochettino, who has been heavily linked with Premier League side Manchester United.

    "We have not been able to take advantage of the opportunities we had, but these things happen once or twice a season when you play well and the goalkeeper or the stick or it goes an inch out. You have to accept this kind of thing."

  • Blue Jays recruit Gausman targeting championship in Toronto Blue Jays recruit Gausman targeting championship in Toronto

    Kevin Gausman joined the Toronto Blue Jays to get his hands on a World Series championship, saying "I want to go somewhere and win" following his blockbuster arrival.

    The World Series-chasing Blue Jays lost American League (AL) Cy Young winner Robbie Ray in free agency but replaced him with All-Star ace Gausman.

    Gausman and the Blue Jays – who heartbreakingly missed out on last season's playoffs despite recording 91 wins – finalised a five-year, $110million contract on Wednesday.

    The 30-year-old Gausman spent two seasons with the San Francisco Giants, where he played a key role in their franchise-best 107-win campaign in 2021.

    "It just made sense the closer it got to decision time. This is the team I think I'm going to win the most with," Gausman said on Wednesday.

    Gausman ended the regular season with a career-high 2.81 ERA as the Giants claimed the best record in baseball after fending off the Los Angeles Dodgers for the National League (NL) West title.

    It was San Francisco's first division crown since 2012, with Gausman boasting a career-high 227 strikeouts prior to the playoffs.

    Gausman finished the year behind only NL Cy Young winner Corbin Burnes in Stats Perform's Strike+ metric, which measures which pitchers rack up both whiffs and called strikes.

    "I feel more confident in myself now than I ever have in my career," Gausman added.

    "It's just about being really good at what you're great at. My command has gotten better, and I just have a better overall feel for who I am and what I need to do to have success."

    Gausman has also spent time with the Baltimore Orioles, Atlanta Braves and Cincinnati Reds in MLB.

    "The impact that pitchers like Kevin can have in an organisation beyond the scope of winning is massive," Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins said midweek.

    "His experiences, first and foremost his character, his reputation [are] as strong as they come in baseball. So, all that we would ever ask is for him to be himself."

  • Scherzer embracing pressure after blockbuster Mets move, Marte, Canha and Escobar also unveiled Scherzer embracing pressure after blockbuster Mets move, Marte, Canha and Escobar also unveiled

    Max Scherzer is embracing the pressure associated with his blockbuster switch to the New York Mets, who also confirmed the arrivals of Starling Marte, Mark Canha and Eduardo Escobar.

    The Mets caused a splash in MLB free agency after signing future Hall of Famer Scherzer to a mammoth three-year, $130million contract.

    Scherzer's $43.3m per season deal is the largest in MLB history as the three-time Cy Young winner prepares to team up with fellow superstar ace and two-time Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom.

    "The pressure is a privilege, not a problem," World Series winner Scherzer told reporters during his introductory news conference on Wednesday.

    Scherzer was acquired by the Los Angeles Dodgers from the Washington Nationals during the 2021 season, going 15-4 with a 2.46 ERA for both teams – a number only bettered by 2021 National League (NL) Cy Young winner Corbin Burnes of the Milwaukee Brewers.

    The 37-year-old was third for winning percentage (78.9) last season and fourth for strikeouts (236).

    Overall, Scherzer is 190-97 with a 3.16 ERA in his career for the Arizona Diamondbacks, Detroit Tigers, Nationals and Dodgers.

    "I called Jake after our meeting just to get a sense of what New York was like, how he’s feeling and just get a state of where he's at, and came away happy with it," Scherzer said.

    "The dream of pitching with him -- we can do some great things together. I've been very fortunate throughout my whole career to have great starting pitchers beside me. I know how powerful that can be when you have guys to feed off of and watch great pitchers."

    The Mets, who last won the World Series in 1986, are coming off their fourth losing season in five years after missing the playoffs once again.

    "Max is one of the greatest pitchers of this and any generation -- 190 wins, more than 3,000 strikeouts, three Cy Youngs, a World Series ring and he went 15-4 this past season with a 2.46 ERA," said Mets owner Steve Cohen.

    "He is a Hall of Famer who knows how to win, and that’s a great quality to add to the clubhouse, too. Now we get to pair Max with one of the other great generational pitchers, Jacob deGrom.

    "I told you last year I wanted to win, and I talked about sustained winning and winning championships, and I mean it. And I think the Mets today are closer to that than we were then. We are a better team today than we were two weeks ago."

    The Nets also confirmed deals for All-Star outfielder Marte and Canha – both from the Oakland Athletics – and 2021 All-Star Escobar via the Brewers.

    "I've had a good relationship with Robinson Cano, and I've always wanted to be his team-mate," Marte said. "I have a lot of family in New York and I felt like it was the right time for me to take on this opportunity."

    "When I saw those names, I was like, 'OK, we're cooking a little bit now,'" Canha said.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.