Houston Astros give Framber Valdez and Luis Garcia ALCS starts to open Red Sox series

Uncertainty remains over Lance McCullers Jr.'s ALCS status. He's considered day-to-day with forearm tightness.

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Thursday, October 14, 2021
McCullers' status in doubt as Astros' 1st 2 starting pitchers named
In the lead-up to the ALCS, there were questions over Lance McCullers Jr.'s status. This video takes a look at how management addressed that issue before the ace pitcher was kept off the 26-man roster.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- As Houston Astros fans hold their breath on whether Lance McCullers Jr. can continue to pitch lights-out outings in the AL Championship Series, the team revealed on Thursday its starting arms for the first two games.

Framber Valdez, who pitched 4.1 innings in Game 2 of the AL Division Series last Friday, will start things off on the mound for Houston's Game 1 against the Boston Red Sox. Houston will then give the ball to Luis Garcia in Game 2.

At home against the White Sox in the ALDS, Valdez allowed seven hits and four earned runs but struck out six batters in a no-decision during Houston's Game 2 win.

Garcia started ALDS Game 3 in Chicago, where he allowed five earned runs off of five hits in a quick 2.2 innings of work in the loss.

SEE MORE: Houston Astros now 1 of 3 MLB teams with at least 5 consecutive league championship series berths

Valdez and Garcia, 27 and 24, respectively, were the breakout stars for the Astros during the 2020 postseason run, and both won their regular season starts against Boston.

The Red Sox are expected to counter with veterans Chris Sale in Game 1 and Nathan Eovaldi in Game 2. Sale hadn't faced the Astros in 2021, while Eovaldi, who is an Alvin native, dropped his only start this season against his hometown team back on June 9.

While the Astros seem set on the first two games of the series, they still have unanswered questions, specifically on McCullers and outfielder Jake Meyers.

McCullers is reportedly day-to-day with forearm stiffness that emerged during the ALDS clincher in Game 4, but MLB Network's Jon Heyman reports that he may miss the entire series. If true, that would be a blow to Houston and its chances against Boston's potent offense.

"There is great concern for McCullers in the short term, and he's most likely out for the ALCS," Heyman tweeted.

The team's official standing on Thursday is still uncertainty. Astros general manager James Click remained unsure on McCullers, though, an MRI has been taken.

SEE MORE: This is why Astros ace Lance McCullers Jr. was pulled from ALDS Game 4

Meanwhile, Meyers is also day-to-day with a shoulder injury due to a collision with the outfield wall early in ALDS Game 4. In a positive sign, the rookie outfielder was on the field Thursday for workouts and taking throws.

ALCS Game 1 is set for 7:07 p.m. Friday at Minute Maid Park. The series stays in Houston for Game 2 on Saturday, which is set for 3:20 p.m.

The series then moves to Boston for Game 3 on Monday at 7:07 p.m. Game 4, also in Boston, is Tuesday. If necessary, Game 5 on Wednesday would remain at Fenway Park, while Games 6 and 7 would be back in Houston on Oct. 22 and 23.

SEE ALSO: Astros fans! The ultimate guide to getting the ALCS tickets you want

It's the hottest ticket in town! Game 1 of the American League Championship Series at Minute Maid Park Friday night is sure to be packed. Here's how to get in.