Dallas Keuchel Becomes First Astros Pitcher to 200 Ks Since 2004


Dallas Keuchel returned to his winning ways last night against the Angels and he picked up a huge milestone along the way – 200 strikeouts on the season! His total by the end of the night was 203. That’s a relatively big deal for the 2015 All-Star and the Houston Astros organization.

Keuchel, a seventh round pick in 2009 out of the University of Arkansas, has been remarkable this year. He’s performed beyond all expectations (except maybe his own) while leading the Houston Astros to new heights following the miserable years of 2011-14.

In his third full season in the big leagues, Keuchel has been masterful, proving himself to be a true “ace” while not being a prototypical strikeout pitcher. He’s been a pitch-to-contact guy throughout his career and he doesn’t have the heat on his fastball, which FanGraphs rates at about 90 MPH (89.6, to be exact).

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In 2015, he’s been using his changeup, two-seam fastball, and cutter to great affect. Despite not having a fireball, Keuchel’s 203 strikeouts are a career high, with his previous being 146 in 2014. This year he has a ratio of 8.39 K/9 innings, which is far better than his 7.2 in 2013 and 6.57 in 2014. In addition to the career high strikeouts, the Beard has also set (or is on track to set) new personal bests in wins, innings pitched, WAR, ERA, and WHIP.

What’s more? He can still add to those totals with two more starts during the regular season. This can only help his case for AL Cy Young.

In the American League, Keuchel is tied for 1st in wins (18) with Felix Hernandez, 1st in WAR (6.3), 2nd in ERA (2.51), 2nd in WHIP (1.02), 4th in batting average against (.219), and 5th in strikeouts (203). Not that Ks heavily factor into the voters’ decision, but it is interesting to note. And you must also remember that he’s a Gold Glove caliber defensive player, too.

Keuchel’s milestone is also relevant in franchise history because according to the Houston Astros’ Twitter account, Keuchel is the first Astro to reach the 200 strikeout mark in a season since Roy Oswalt and Roger Clemens did it in 2004.

The Wizard and the Rocket were a stellar tandem and were a huge part of Houston’s success that year, just like the Beard’s contributions to the Astros this year. Also, that just happens to be the last time an Astro won the Cy Young when Roger Clemens was honored with his seventh career award, beating out his younger teammate.

For this milestone, congratulations, Dallas Keuchel! Keep on keeping on. Astros fans are hanging on your every start, as they hope the Bearded One leads this franchise back to the promised land.

Next: CTH's Players of the Week (9/14-20)

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