Astros' Lance McCullers Jr.: D-Backs Opening Chase Field Roof Mid-Game Is 'Ass'

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 6, 2020

Houston Astros starting pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. (43) throws against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)
Matt York/Associated Press

Houston Astros starting pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. criticized the Arizona Diamondbacks' decision to open the Chase Field roof after the third inning of Wednesday night's game. 

"Opening the roof in the fourth is ass," McCullers told reporters.

The 26-year-old right-hander opened the game with three scoreless innings. His outing spiraled out of control after the roof opened, as he gave up eight earned runs in two-thirds of an inning before being pulled amid the D-Backs' nine-run outburst in the fourth.

Arizona, which trailed 3-0 before the roof opened, went on to win the slugfest 14-7.

"There were some routine balls that kind of carried up there and got deep," McCullers said. "It got very dry. I was trying to lick my fingers and was warned I couldn't do that—obviously, COVID. I was having a hard time there in the fourth. It's not an excuse. It just is what it is. Balls were being hit that were routine popups and they were landing off walls."

The decision didn't come as a surprise, though. The Diamondbacks decided before first pitch they were going to open the roof after the third inning, per Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic.

Chase Field's playing conditions have been a point of contention since the stadium opened in 1998. It's more favorable to pitchers when the roof is closed, while the hot, dry air can make it feel like a bandbox when the roof is open, as Wednesday's game highlighted.

McCullers, who entered 2020 with a 3.67 career ERA, now owns a 9.22 mark through three starts for the Astros in the coronavirus-shortened campaign.