The Houston Astros have officially come out and said that the Rangers are their daddy. No, this is not Maury where we are doing paternity tests, the Rangers proclaimed this with their actions during last night’s game. Dallas Keuchel was expected to pitch the Astros out of their recent funk last night in Arlington, but instead it turned into a nightmare in Cowgirl County. The Astros have struggled on the road and have been dominated for the most part at Globe Life Park, but last night was an exclamation point to the road woes.
Prior to Wednesday night’s game, Keuchel had 17-7 record/ 2.22 ERA/ 192 strikeouts in 206 2/3. He was seeking his 18th win of the season which should have put the icing on the cake for Keuchel winning the American League Cy Young award in 2015. Instead, the Rangers pounded Keuchel for nine earned runs in 4 2/3 innings on 11 hits. The Rangers hit three homers off Keuchel and added two more blasts off of Michael Feliz. The final score was 14-3, which increased the Rangers lead to 1.5 games over the Astros in the AL West.
Following the game, Keuchel’s ERA jumped up to 2.56 following the nine runs he allowed last night. While most people would not think that’s a big jump, it represents a 15.3% increase in one game. While the game got out of hand quickly, I believe it was more the momentum that the Rangers have built up in the series that led to the blowout. The Rangers are really confident right now, so they did not fall for Keuchel’s normal repertoire. A tribute to him for trying to take one for the team and try to stay in the game as long as he could.
However, does this outing have any effect on his chances to win the American League Cy Young award this season? Looking at the competition, we have Sonny Gray and Felix Hernandez as the primary candidates according to ESPN Cy Young Predictor.
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Keuchel – 169.8 CYP: 17-8/ 2.56 ERA/ 196 SO in 211 1/3 innings.
Gray – 132.6 CYP: 13-7/ 2.56 ERA/ 160 SO in 196 2/3 innings.
Hernandez – 131.6 CYP: 17-9/ 3.55 ERA/ 180 SO in 190 innings.
The answer is pretty obvious, Keuchel is still the favorite to win the award unless he continues to struggle. He has at least three more starts this season and may pitch on short rest to pitch in a possible wild-card game or play-in game. One bad start out of 30 won’t sway the voters against him. The Beard has still been one of the best pitchers in the AL all season.