Astros: Dallas Keuchel wins AL Pitcher of the Month
No surprise that Astros’ Dallas Keuchel is the AL Pitcher of the Month. Keuchel posting a 5-0 record with a 1.21 ERA in six starts.
Dallas Keuchel has been magnificent in his six starts this season for the Houston Astros. He has tapped into his 2015 Cy Young Award-winning form and rebounded as the headlining act of starting pitchers in the MLB.
Here’s how he gets it done.
He keeps the Bottom Hot!
First of all, you have to pitch the ball where you want it hit. As elementary as this sounds, it is still a prominent concept at the highest level of baseball. Keuchel has been spectacular at using the bottom of the strike zone to generate outs consistently.
A pitcher who uses movement and placement to his advantage poses such a tough threat to hitters. Dallas is making sure to keep strikes low in the zone, along with his mixture of off-speed pitches. Thanks to Cody Poage for sharing this information!
The boys at Talking Stros on Sports Talk 790 predicted that he would win this past Sunday. His competition was Ervin Santana, Chris Sale, James Paxton, Andrew Triggs, and Jason Vargas. The best pitcher won. If you like Astros talk on AM radio, listen to Talking Stros at 790 AM or iHeart Radio.
Secondly, Keuchel is throwing his two-seam fastball and slider over 50% of the time. This is a huge percentage. A left-handed two-seam fastball cuts away from right-handed hitters. This is a difficult pitch to hit when thrown down and away in the strike zone. This pitch is also perfectly complemented with a change-up.
The change-up (being used 13% of the time) is aesthetically identical to the two-seam fastball, except for the amount of spin and the decreased velocity. His slider challenges hitters when thrown down and into them. He generates a lot of weak contact because he keeps hitter off-balance.
Winning builds Confidence
Finally, Success is a compounding factor. The more successful someone is, the more likely they are to be more successful going forward. After a lackluster 2016, Keuchel was in search of his command, but more importantly, his confidence.
A pitcher of Keuchel’s abilities lives off commanding the strike zone. He’s regained this command and is using his strengths to lead the AL in so many pitching categories.
Astros Need this from Keuchel
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All in all, Dallas understands this team is in a much different spot from 2015. There is a veteran presence, explosive hitting, and his stellar pitching. He will carry the Astros rotation into the postseason. The is an exciting time for Astros fans and most importantly, the team. The team knows Keuchel can deliver, and Keuchel can rely on his teammates to get outs and score runs at will.
***Stats and Data gathered from Fangraphs, Baseball-Reference, and MLB.com***