Houston Astros Ace Dallas Keuchel in Postseason Form This Preseason
Spring Training is winding down, and the Houston Astros are heading back to Houston to play a two-game exhibition series versus the Milwaukee Brewers starting tonight at 7:10 pm. I know it is still spring training games but get down there to welcome the boys back to town before they head off to face those New York Yankees. One guy that will not be pitching versus the Brewers is Dallas Keuchel, who pitched yesterday in the Grapefruit League finale versus the Philadelphia Phillies.
Kuechel’s next start will be on Monday versus the Yankees for a noon game to open the season. The Yankees have to feel like this is Tombstone, and there is about to a duel with Keuchel on the mound. To say that Keuchel dominated the Yankees last year is putting it too mildly, he owned the Yankees last season. In two regular season games versus the Yankees last year, Keuchel went 2-0 without giving up any runs while striking out 21 hitters in 16 innings.
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When the Astros and Yankees were set to play the AL Wild Card game last year, I bet the Yankees were excited but secretly thinking that they would have to face Keuchel again in a do or die one game playoff. While Keuchel only had to pitch six innings in that game on short rest, he still shut them out while striking out seven batters. The Astros advanced to face the Royals winning that game 3-0.
As the season approaches, Yankees fans had to be discouraged when they realized that they had to face the guy who ended their 2015 season to begin the 2016 season. On the most recent Talking Stros, we talked to FanSided Yankees’ Podcaster Ricky Keeler about whether Yankees fans are still having nightmares of the bearded one. He said no because they have had the whole off-season to forget about it. You can listen to what else he said and the rest of the show below.
While some people might feel like Keuchel cannot be that good again in 2016, all signs point to him being the same old beard this year. While Keuchel got off to a somewhat later start this spring by design, he has been the only Astros starter to reach seven innings pitched in a game on top not allowing a single run in 17 innings with sixteen strikeouts. Last year he gave up three runs during spring training, and I bet we were impressed, now we are amazed.
I know what you are going to say, it is spring training, don’t take too much value in these stats. These are probably the same people who are not concerned about Doug Fister‘s stats this spring. This makes what Keuchel has done so impressively because most pitchers are working on pitches and are getting lit up.
I do not think I have been so excited for a season-opening game on the road before, but watching Keuchel pitch against the Yanks will be fun with some friends, new and old at Jackson Street BBQ with Talking Stros on Monday. Let’s play ball.
**Stats courtesy of MLB.com**