"I'm really excited," McCullers said. "[Manager A.J. Hinch] told me a couple of days ago I was likely getting the nod. He told me he would let me know in a couple of days, and I'm excited, because either way it's going to be a big game for us."
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McCullers, 22, went 6-7 with a 3.22 ERA in 22 starts this year, including a complete-game win over the Orioles on June 3 in his fourth Major League start. He last pitched Sunday at Arizona and allowed three runs (two earned) and six hits in five innings in the regular-season finale.
McCullers was 4-1 with a 1.86 ERA in 10 home starts.
In 125 2/3 innings with Houston this year, McCullers has allowed 106 hits, 43 walks and struck out 129 batters. The Astros are 8-14 in games he's started. McCullers beat the Royals on June 29 in Houston, holding them to one run and four hits in seven innings.
"I think I had a good plan of attack," McCullers said. "They're a great team. They play all types of baseball. They can play small ball and hit the ball out of the park. They just do everything the right way. They have a bunch of guys that can run. It's a tough challenge, but at the end of the day, you have to trust yourself and your stuff and trust your plan, and everything is going to work out."
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.