McHugh’s pitching intensity fueling his postseason push
ANAHEIM, Calif. — After pitching six innings of one-run ball in the Astros’ 2-1 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Friday night, Collin McHugh said he came into the start as if it were in the postseason.
“It’s a playoff game for me,” said McHugh, who because of an elbow injury didn’t make his season debut until the Astros’ 97th game. “I don’t have the luxury of having a full season behind me to kind of find my groove and get into the swing and things.
“Every start down the stretch for me is a practice in intensity to be ready to pitch in the playoffs, to be able to pitch in October.”
Astros manager A.J. Hinch lauded the intensity with which McHugh pitched Friday, when he allowed only three hits and struck out eight against two walks.
Like after his last start, when he pitched six scoreless innings against Oakland, McHugh said he didn’t feel like he had his best stuff. He felt he had decent fastball command but didn’t spin his breaking balls very well.
“You’re not going to have your best stuff every time up,” said McHugh, who has a 3.63 ERA in seven starts. “If you have five starts in a month, two times you might be great, two times you might be terrible and that one start that’s going to kind of make or break things.
“You never know what you’re going out there with. You might have a bazooka. You might have a pocket knife. But you’ve got to go out fighting with whatever you have. Tonight was probably somewhere in between, but we made it work. We fought and the intensity was there. From a playoff standpoint, this is what I’m looking for from myself.”
McCullers will make rehab start
Lance McCullers Jr. will make his next rehab start Wednesday or Thursday with the Astros’ Class AA Corpus Christi affiliate in a game at Frisco.
Astros manager A.J. Hinch said on Saturday the team had yet to determine which of the days McCullers will pitch. McCullers made his first rehab start Friday night with Class AAA Fresno, an outing in which the 23-year-old righthander lasted only three innings, allowed three runs and issued five walks compared to just one strikeout.
McCullers, who hasn’t pitched for the Astros since July 30 because of what the team described as “back discomfort,” rejoined his teammates Saturday afternoon at Angel Stadium.
Correa’s rehab moves to El Paso
Carlos Correa will accompany the Astros’ Class AAA Fresno affiliate on Monday to El Paso, where the Grizzlies open a fourgame series that evening.
Correa, who played in Fresno on Saturday and is scheduled to play again Sunday, will have Monday off, according to Astros manager A.J. Hinch.
Through two games in his rehab assignment, Correa is 2-for-6 with a sacrifice fly.
Odds & ends
The Astros still plan to fly from California on Sunday night after their series finale against the Angels. Because of Tropical Storm Harvey they may stop over in Dallas. …
Will Harris (shoulder) rejoined the Astros on Saturday at Angel Stadium and could be activated as soon as Sunday. …
Rehabbing reliever Michael Feliz (shoulder) will likely pitch again for Class AA Corpus Christi next week in Frisco. Lefthander Tony Sipp (calf ), who logged a scoreless inning for Class AAA Fresno on Friday night, is scheduled to pitch again Sunday or Monday. … Astros’ radio broadcaster Robert Ford will be off the airwaves for a couple weeks after undergoing an emergency appendectomy Saturday morning in Orange County. Retired longtime television broadcaster Bill Brown will fill in for Ford beginning Tuesday.
Astros starting pitcher Collin McHugh allowed one run in six innings against the Angels on Friday night as he continued his string of solid performances.