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.
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.
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.
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.