McCullers, 28, had a very strong regular season, posting a 3.16 ERA with a .205 opponent batting average, 185 strikeouts, and 76 walks in 28 starts (162.1 innings). He was even better in the ALDS, starting twice against the White Sox and allowing just one earned run over 10.2 innings. He suffered a flexor pronator muscle strain — a development that initially appeared ominous, especially since McCullers underwent Tommy John surgery after getting injured during the 2018 postseason — though MRIs came back clean, leaving a small possibility that he might be able to pitch in the World Series.
The Astros, who got great work out of their bullpen during the ALCS, will hope they can count on young starters Luis Garcia and Framber Valdez to help them win their second championship in five years. It will give them a great boost as well if José Urquidy and Zack Greinke can bounce back after rough starts in the ALCS.
Valdez is set to face the Braves’ Charlie Morton in Game 1 as the World Series kicks off on Tuesday night.