Astros AM: Dallas Keuchel Shut Down and Other News

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Aug 21, 2016; Baltimore, MD, USA; Houston Astros pitcher Dallas Keuchel (60) throws a pitch in the fourth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 21, 2016; Baltimore, MD, USA; Houston Astros pitcher Dallas Keuchel (60) throws a pitch in the fourth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports /
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Already down one starting pitcher, the Houston Astros couldn’t afford to lose another. Well, they just did.

In the midst of a tight AL Wild Card race, the Houston Astros margin for error is slim. This margin has become even slimmer with key starter Dallas Keuchel being shut down from throwing for the foreseeable future due to a shoulder ailment.

Not only will the Astros lose Keuchel’s services for his scheduled start in Cleveland, he will also be unavailable for the upcoming series against the Chicago Cubs. Heck, he could even be out the rest of the season.

Per Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle, the Astros aren’t sure if Keuchel would pitch again in the 2016 season.

"“I don’t know,” manager A.J. Hinch said when asked if he thought Keuchel would pitch again this season. “We’ll have to get back and see how all of these tests come back and how he continues to feel."

The loss of Keuchel from the starting rotation is a blow to the Astros. Not only is he the reigning AL Cy Young winner, Keuchel is the team’s best starting pitcher when his stuff is in order.

Sure, he hasn’t been the same type of pitcher we witnessed in 2014-15 seasons when he went 32-17 with a 2.69 ERA/3.05 FIP. But his 2016 peripherals (3.87 FIP) paint a slightly better picture than his 4.55 ERA seems to indicate.

So, where do the Astros go from here?

The team did announce that recent call-up, Brad Peacock, will take Keuchel’s scheduled start in Cleveland.

Peacock has only thrown seven relief innings for the Astros this season. This will be his first major league start in 2016.

The hope is that Keuchel along with Lance McCullers respective arm health will improve in the next week or so. However, with only four or so weeks left in the season, that may be hopeful thinking to see them both pitching again this year. After all, Keuchel is undergoing tests to determine how serious his injury is and McCullers has yet to throw since injuring his elbow a few weeks ago.

This undoubtedly impacts the Astros postseason hopes in not a good way.

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Wait, the Astros made some more roster moves yesterday.

Besides Peacock, the Astros also recalled two familiar names: catcher Max Stassi and left-handed reliever Kevin Chapman.

Per Brian McTaggart of MLB.com, the Stassi recall was necessary due to a bout of knee inflammation for Jason Castro.

And we all know that extra catching depth could be crucial late in the season. Stassi has only approved in two games and four at-bats with the Astros in 2016. He has collected no hits and struck out twice.

The Chapman recall is seen as needed for bullpen depth purposes and to add another lefty to the ‘pen. The struggles of Tony Sipp have been well documented so it makes sense to change things up. The extra reliever could also come in handy for roster flexibility like any other September call up. Let’s see if the Astros actually utilize Chapman this time around though as he only appeared in one game this season despite the sometimes apparent need for another southpaw for the bullpen.

Going forward the Astros will need to able to win without arguably their top two pitchers from the 2015 playoff team. And that is a tall task.

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However, there is hope as the Astros offense have seem to rediscover its groove lately and will hope to ride the offense throughout early September until the pitching corps can recover.

**Statistics provided by Baseball Reference**

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