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#pounditSaturday, November 27, 2021

Astros lose star player to injury for ALCS series against Red Sox?

Lance McCullers delivers a pitch

The Houston Astros are heavy favorites to advance to the World Series heading into their ALCS showdown with the Boston Red Sox, but their pitching staff may be dealt a major blow.

Starting pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. was removed from Houston’s Game 4 ALDS win over the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday night with what the Astros called forearm stiffness. There has been no official announcement about his status for the ALCS, but MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reported on Thursday that the right-hander is not expected to pitch against Boston.

Other MLB reporters have heard the same. USA Today’s Bob Nightengale was told McCullers is expected to miss the ALCS with a strained forearm but could return for the World Series.

Astros general manager James Click said Thursday that the team is awaiting the results of a precautionary MRI. The deadline to set the ALCS roster is Friday morning.

McCullers went 13-5 with a 3.16 ERA during the regular season. He then allowed just one earned run in 10.2 innings in the ALDS against the White Sox. He was expected to start for the Astros in Game 3 of the ALCS and then pitch again in Game 7, if needed.

Photo: Oct 7, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. (43) throws a pitch against the Chicago White Sox during the first inning in game one of the 2021 ALDS at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

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