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Lance McCullers Jr.: CTH’s Pitcher of the Month For June

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Now that June is over, we can hand out our monthly awards to the Houston Astros pitchers. Yesterday, we handed out the Hitter of the Month to George Springer. Today we focus on the Pitcher of the Month.

Okay. So this may come as a bit of a surprise: during June the Houston Astros had two pitchers with identical records. Nearly identical ERAs. Nearly the same amount of strikeouts. Both pitched a complete game. Both have beards.

If you’re thinking about Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers Jr., you’ve won the trivia jackpot (no monetary prizes given out here, but go ahead and pat yourself on the back).

Keuchel is the staff ace and gets all the glory. And we’re spoiled by Dallas Keuchel. We expect nothing less than a win when he’s on the bump. He’s just that dadgummed good.

But McCullers deserves some credit. The rookie has been more than anyone could’ve asked for, bringing stability to a pitching staff that’s dealt with a rash of injuries and inconsistency. McCullers is solid nearly every night, and the Astros know they’ll be in every contest when he’s on the mound. The young buck is proving his mettle and has done everything he can to keep pace with the rotation’s leader.

Since I told you they were so close to each other, we must look at a comparison of their stats (bold is better):

Now you can see how close they truly were to each other. It wasn’t initially obvious (as it has been in previous months) to discern which one of these pitchers deserved the award. It took a fine-tooth comb to figure it out because when you boil it all down, they had nearly identical months.

The reason that we chose Lance McCullers Jr. for the honor over Dallas Keuchel is due to the lower ERA, WHIP, and batting average against. LMJ’s hit total was also significantly lower, too.

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LMJ’s best performance for the month came against the Orioles on June 3, where he pitched a complete game, only giving up one run on four hits and he struck out 11 batters. He got the win in that tilt.

He also had solid performances against the White Sox on June 8 (Loss, 7.0 IP, 4 hits, 3 ER, 7 Ks); versus the Mariners on June 14 (Win, 5.0 IP, 0 Hits, 0 ER, 4 Ks); facing the Angels on June 24 (Loss, 6.0 IP, 4 hits, 1 ER, 6 Ks); and in a battle with the Royals on June 29 (Win, 7.0 IP, 4 hits, 1 ER, 6 Ks).

With the second half of the season coming up, the Houston Astros will need more strong performances from McCullers. He’ll be an integral part of the playoff push. If he keeps pitching like this, he may even thrust himself into the Rookie of the Year conversations.

So that’s where we stand on June: Lance McCullers Jr. is our Pitcher of the Month.

Yes, you can disagree with our selection. You can make an argument just as strong for Dallas Keuchel. Go ahead, let us hear it in the comment section.

Next: George Springer: Hitter of the Month

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