The Houston Astros have an ace in Dallas Keuchel, beard and all!
Going into the season, there were quite a few question marks surrounding the Houston Astros. Yes, they added all the veteran talent, but many experts around the nation felt that the Astros lacked an ‘ace.’ But what about the 2015 Cy Young Award winner Dallas Keuchel? This is a question another expert would ask the other expert. Then they will talk about Keuchel’s 2016 season. They still need an ace to go to the World Series.
In the words of someone we all know, “Wrong!” Dallas Keuchel and his beard are back to tame the AL West this year. The Astros are 14-7 in the first 21 games, tied for the best record in baseball with the Washington Nationals. They are winning with the potent offense and a dynamic bullpen. But Keuchel and Lance McCullers highlight a rotation that has not been great so far.
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Tuesday, Keuchel held down the Indians lineup with Edwin Encarnacion and company to two runs in a complete game. Keuchel kept a low pitch count all game, throwing 65 pitches in six innings at one point. That is a guy who has control of the games he pitches as he finished with 117 pitches.
According to MLB Statcast, Keuchel got 30 called strikes Tuesday night. They said it was the most called strikes for him in the Statcast era. The 30 called strikes were also the most by any pitcher this season. Keuchel did give up two solo homers but quickly retired the hitters around those solo homers. You can live with homers as long as there are not runners on the bases.
In fact, Keuchel has only given up fives runs in 37 innings in 2017, four of those are from homers. Keuchel’s groundball to flyball ratio is 2.43, which is higher than his previous high of 1.88 in 2014. In a sense, Keuchel could be better than he was in 2015. Can’t wait for the next start.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***