The Houston Astros will need Dallas Keuchel return to Cy Young form if they wish to make it back to the postseason.
The Houston Astros 2016 campaign came to an end last month amid spot-starting pitching, dismal bullpen blowups, and untimely hitting. However, the most glaring of those three holes was, of course, the starting pitching.
In the first half of the season, armed with 2015 Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel, stud Lance McCullers and free agent Doug Fister, this rotation had some promise. A month in, and the Houston Astros looked like a shell of its former self – or rather, a shell of its 2010-2013 self.
Keuchel, leading the charge to an abysmal 7-17 start, stumbled terribly out of the gate with a 6.63 ERA and a 1-3 record through his first 11 starts of the 2016 campaign.
Other factors contributed to the awful start, but when your ace isn’t pitching like an ace, the other chips follow, and pretty soon it snowballs to what we saw this year.
For the Astros to make more playoff magic in the future, their ace needs to shine, and we’ll need a Keuchel return to Cy Young form.
The Astros need their Ace
Consider the following. In 2015, Keuchel started 33 games, with 27 of them being quality starts. In 2016, out of the 26 starts, 16 were quality starts.
It’s pretty evident to see that we’ll need our ace to return to form.
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The question is, CAN Keuchel return to Cy Young form?
After the first 11 starts, Keuchel did settle down and go 9-12 with a 4.55 ERA, amid a string of injuries that ultimately shelved him.
A few factors to Keuchel’s dominance
Here are the ways Keuchel can return to Cy Young form:
- If Keuchel can keep his control and locate in the Greg Maddux way, only Keuchel knows how then he has a shot to return to form.
- A vaunted AL offense didn’t deter him in 2015, and it shouldn’t be in 2017.
- Considering the AL West’s opponents are a combined 408-402, we should see a healthy Dallas Keuchel dominate again
The key to playoff success
As a known adage in Major League Baseball, pitching is the key to an effective campaign and ultimately, playoff success. The Houston Astros will need their ace to return to his former self and create havoc around the American League if they want to taste that success once again.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***