Game 1 – Mike Pelfrey (0-1, 14.73) vs. Dallas Keuchel (1-1, 3.55)
The 32-year-old, former first-round pick Mike Pelfrey is in his first year with his third major league team, His tenure with the Tigers has gotten off to a rocky start. In 3.2 innings, he gave up six earned runs and eight hits to the Yankees lineup in his 2016 debut outing. Pelfrey’s dominant pitch is the sinker, which averaged around 90 mph in his outing against New York, which was three mph less than his average last year. Every single one of the Yankees hits were off his sinker, so he will either need to throw that pitch more efficiently or look to incorporate more off-speed pitches.
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Pelfrey has not had much luck in Minute Maid Park, going 0-2 with a 9.90 ERA and giving up three home runs in 10 innings of work; he also is historically bad at both opening and closing seasons, with a career ERA of over 5.00 in both April and September. The Astro with most at-bats against Pelfrey is Colby Rasmus with nine, including one home run.
Keuchel has struggled with his control in his first two 2016 starts. He has walked ten batters so far this year, last year he totaled 51 walks the entire season. His BB/9 average is at 7.1 as opposed to 2.6 career average. Hitters seem to be taking a more patient approach this year as so far more of his pitches outside of the zone have been taken instead of swung at. Last year hitters swung at 47% of Keuchel’s change-ups outside the zone, this year 18%. His slider got 43% swings, and now 25% of those pitches outside the zone. He has offset his control issues with 13 strikeouts, and by not allowing any home runs. He has fared decently against Detroit over his career, and last year won his only start against them, giving up one run over seven innings.
Game Prediction: Astros 8 – Tigers 2
Next: Game 2