Astros’ gung-ho Lance McCullers Jr.: ‘I want to be out there all night’ - Houston Chronicle

Most pitchers appreciate having a few days of rest between outings. Lance McCullers Jr. is not most pitchers.

“I just really want to be out there, and I have to wait four or five more days again to pitch,” the gung-ho McCullers said following the Astros’ 6-2 loss to Oakland on Friday night in Minute Maid Park. “I just want to be out there all night. I have to wait too long in between these starts.”

McCullers pitched five innings and threw 88 pitches, exiting the game when it was 1-1. The Astros’ bullpen allowed five runs over the final four innings. McCullers looks forward to staying on the mound longer as the young season presses on.

“I really feel like I have a solid 105 to 110 (pitches) in me,” he said. “I understand the game plan and the matching up and all of that kind of stuff. But I always feel like, man, I really had at least one more solid inning in me. I understand it’s early in the season, and I understand the decision, and obviously they explained it to me.”

McCullers described pitching in front of a crowd of 21,768 fans on Friday in Minute Maid as “probably one of the highlights of my career.” Last year the stands were empty because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and this year Minute Maid is still at limited capacity. It certainly didn’t seem like it to an appreciative McCullers.

“It was a really cool, special night,” McCullers said. “I would have loved to be able to put a good stamp on it. (But) we’ll get ’em next time, you know?”

The three-game series wraps up at 3 p.m. Saturday, and the Astros are off on Sunday. They lost for the first time in six games against the Athletics, including four games in Oakland to start the season.

The Astros won their season home opener on Thursday by the same score (6-2) as Friday night’s setback. That’s also now their record eight games into what’s shaping up as a promising season for Astros followers – why manager Dusty Baker was hardly perturbed by Friday’s loss.

“We’ll just come back to work tomorrow,” Baker said.

The night wasn’t a complete bummer for the Astros who were teammates with pitcher Joe Musgrove from 2016-17. Musgrove, now playing for his hometown San Diego Padres, threw a no-hitter on Friday night at Texas – the Padres’ first no-hitter in franchise history. McCullers caught the highlights in the Astros clubhouse afterward.

“He’s such a good dude, and to see his development … I know he’s so happy to be home,” McCullers said of Musgrove. “He’s just a great guy in our game.”

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April 10, 2021 at 12:07PM

Astros’ gung-ho Lance McCullers Jr.: ‘I want to be out there all night’ - Houston Chronicle
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