If the Astros meet the New York Yankees again the postseason, Dallas Keuchel may be the most important pitcher for Houston in that hypothetical matchup.
Say if cloning was allowed by Major League Baseball, would the Astros clone Dallas Keuchel not only once but twice in a playoff series against the New York Yankees? I would like to think that the answer is a resounding yes. Let’s face it, Keuchel may be the closest thing that the Astros may ever have to a Yankee “stopper”.
Why do I have such confidence in this statement you ask?
Well, it is quite simple. Keuchel, the Astros bearded southpaw, has been a good starting pitcher against the Yankees throughout his entire major league career.
Thanks to Baseball Reference’s Play Index, I performed a search of all Astros starting pitchers and their results against the Yankees sorted by the best Game Score. And guess whose name appears five times out of the top ten occurrences? You guessed right if you thought Keuchel. And by Keuchel’s name you see the following Game Scores: 86, 80, 68, 64 and 64. In all of five starts, he only surrendered a total of four runs. And the Astros were 4-1 in those games against the Yankees. Not too shabby.
In those five starts against New York, Keuchel has a 40 combined strikeouts and six walks. He has also only surrendered five extra-base hits, which all were doubles. Yes, this means that Keuchel has not allowed a home run to the Yankees in the regular season throughout those five starts. Or the postseason.
Who can forget about the 2015 AL Wild Card game as the Astros strolled into New York with the future AL Cy Young on their side. Surprisingly, at least in terms of Game Score, this wasn’t Keuchel’s best start against the Yankees. This appearance ended with a 72 Game Score.
No, his best appearance by Game Score occurred on June 25th, 2015. Here is the stat line of Keuchel’s start that day in Minute Maid Park.
9 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 12 SO
It is not uncommon to see a random player perform well against one particular team. The Astros are all familiar with that aspect as Albert Pujols has basically made the franchise’s life a certain nightmare at times. In a way it feels like Keuchel is doing the same thing to the Yankees except it is in the form of pitching.
This season it appears that both the Astros and Yankees are contenders in the American League. And it is very well possible that they meet each other again in the postseason. If that happens then we may see Keuchel earn another shot to prove his dominance over the Yankees. Of course, this is baseball and the results can easily switch the other way on the outcome of just on swing. That said, I like Keuchel’s and the Astros chances against the Yankees whenever he takes the mound.
**Statistics courtesy of Baseball Reference**