Lance McCullers Jr. to start Game 3 2022 World Series

HOUSTON — Five years after starting Game 7 of the 2017 World Series — a game the Astros won over the Dodgers in Los Angeles for their first championship in club history — right-hander Lance McCullers Jr. will return to the Fall Classic stage when it begins Game 3 of the World Series on Monday night in Philadelphia.

The best-of-seven series against the Phillies is tied, 1-1, after the Astros beat the Phillies, 5-2, on Saturday night at Minute Maid Park.

McCullers will make his third start in the 2022 playoffs after winning games in the American League Division Series and AL Championship Series. He threw six scoreless innings in the Astros’ 18-inning win over Seattle in Game 3 of the ALDS and gave up four runs (three earned) on eight hits and one walk over five innings in Game 4 of the ALCS against the Yankees in New York.

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“I’m really excited,” McCullers said. “They came here and did what they had to do and got a 1-1 split, so it’s going to be up to us to go to their park and play three on the road and play good baseball. But [I’m] really looking forward to experiencing the crowd. I’ve heard a lot about it. So I was pretty open. I’m a really big fan of the game and I think it’s going to be a great moment. I’m looking forward to trying to lead us to victory.”

McCullers is one of the best big-game pitchers in Astros history, going 2-2 with a 2.77 ERA and 1.10 WHIP in 18 career games (11 starts) in the postseason. His 11 playoff starts and 68 1/3 innings are second most in franchise history behind Justin Verlander (17 playoff starts, 104 1/3 innings).

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In his two previous World Series starts, both in 2017, he gave up three runs, seven hits, four walks and struck out four batters in 7 2/3 innings. He also appeared in a Game 7 in ’17 while throwing just 2 1/3 innings at Dodger Stadium.

McCullers faced the Phillies in his final start of the regular season on Oct. 3, holding them to one run on six hits and one walk over six innings. He surrendered a leadoff homer to Kyle Schwarber and finished with the loss as the Astros were shut out by the Phillies 3-0 as Philadelphia clinched the final NL Wild Card spot.

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“They’ve got guys really from the jump, with Schwarber all the way up the middle of that lineup, hitting for average and hitting for power,” McCullers said. “And then you have guys on the bottom who, you saw that at-bat [Bryson] Stott had it tonight [in Game 2]. It was one of the most impressive matches I’ve seen in a while. And when they get on, they can run and then put the ball in play. So they are really a complete team. I look forward to the challenge.”

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