Detroit Tigers History

Detroit Tigers Throwback Thursday: That time Lance McCullers was a Tiger

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DETROIT, MI - JUNE 28: A Detroit Tigers hat, glasses and glove sit on the dugout stairs during a MLB game against the Chicago White Sox at Comerica Park on June 28, 2015 in Detroit, Michigan. The Tigers win on a walk off home run 5-4. (Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - JUNE 28: A Detroit Tigers hat, glasses and glove sit on the dugout stairs during a MLB game against the Chicago White Sox at Comerica Park on June 28, 2015 in Detroit, Michigan. The Tigers win on a walk off home run 5-4. (Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images) /
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 Justin Verlander is not the only Houston Astros pitcher who has a relationship with the Detroit Tigers.

Detroit Tigers fans are forced to settle in to the MLB playoff season without their team in contention. While there are plenty of former Tigers to watch, no doubt the fans are itching for this team to be back in the playoff hunt.

While Justin Verlander, Rick Porcello, David Price and Anibal Sanchez will be in postseason rotations, they aren’t the only pitchers in the postseason who have connections to the Tigers.

Houston’s dynamic right-hander, Lance McCullers, is the son of Lance McCullers (senior) who spent seven seasons on a big league mound.

If you don’t remember McCullers on the Tigers, you’re not alone. His time in the Motor City was brief – and frankly not very memorable. His son has already eclipsed many of his father’s accomplishments, and he is only 25-years-old.

The elder McCullers was originally drafted by the Phillies in the second round in 1982. He reached the big leagues three years later, as a member of the Padres. He was an oft-used reliever for four seasons in San Diego, pitching in 229 games with a 2.96 ERA.

He was then shipped to the Yankees, where he spent one and a half seasons. He was traded on June 4, 1990 to the Tigers along with Clay Parker in exchange for catcher Matt Nokes.

McCullers got rocked in five June appearances, all out of the bullpen. He was the team’s primary long reliever, going 1-4 with a 4.41 ERA and a 11/6 K/BB ratio.

He fared better in July, throwing 13.1 innings across four appearances, including one of his few career starts. He had a 0.68 ERA and opponents managed to hit just .114 off him. He did not pitch again after July 13, and was out the entire 1991 season.

He threw five innings with the 1992 Texas Rangers, and was out of baseball for good at age 28. Injuries ravaged his once promising career. He finished with a 3.25 ERA and a 7.6 K/9 across seven big league seasons.

The younger McCullers has already faced injury issues as well, and one can only hope the dynamic youngster is able to avoid the same fate as his dad.

Next. The five greatest Justin Verlander performances. dark

So when you are watching Verlander, Porcello and the other former Detroit Tigers this October, don’t forget that McCullers has a connection to the Motor City as well – albeit a rather small one.

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