I was in attendance at yesterday’s Astros game. After being there firsthand and re-watching later, I wanted to share my thoughts on Dallas Keuchel‘s first inning struggle.
As our editor and my co-writer Cody Poage mentioned, the first inning is not always Keuchel’s best. The Astros‘ bearded southpaw produced plenty of ground ball outs, but the timing was unfortunate. Below are my reasons why the first inning was the toughest for Keuchel.
Two important factors determine Keuchel’s success, that is location and deception. However, neither worked in the first inning. He allowed 5 earned runs in the first. When he went inside on hitters, the pitches didn’t seem to break further into them. At times, it appeared pitches were moving back to the heart of the plate. This left the ball floating over the inside part of the plate, and Blue Jays hitters were turning on them.
How do you Fix this?
I’m sure the coaching staff is working with Keuchel to fix these issue. As a writer, I must chime in, right?. As a left-handed pitcher, Keuchel has a two-seam fastball that cuts away from right-handed hitters, and his breaking ball that breaks into right-handed hitters. His velocity leaves him vulnerable to hitters getting out in front of the late movement on pitches, so location is crucial to success.
These pitches receive a ton of exposure when they’re not placed on the proper quadrants of the plate. His two-seam fastball should start outer half and cut away, while his cutter needs to start in and fall under the hands of hitters. There is no doubt in my mind Keuchel and all else have seen this and are working to resolve the issue.
How this Helps going Forward
Keuchel throws so many different pitches, but the quality of pitches has suffered recently. However, there are a few things that would immediately benefit from some adjustments. The release point of all his pitches are so close together, it provides deception. His two-seam fastball covers his change-up, and hit cutter hides his curveball. The location of certain pitches will make their complements more effective.
All in all, Keuchel has great stuff and will benefit tremendously when his location of pitches improves. I have a ton of confidence the left-handed pitcher will regroup and produce more quality starts this season.