Yes, Dallas Keuchel did not pitch as well as his compadres in the Astros 2018 five-man rotation. But it was not like his outing was some unmitigated disaster. It is just that in comparison to four very strong outings by the others, his was middle of the road and came on the day his teammates decided to treat Doug Fister like he was Justin Verlander or Lance McCullers or Gerrit Cole or Charlie Morton….
Verlander. He did allow quite a few fly balls on opening day against the Rangers. He did not quite have his usual one K per inning. But if he repeats his 6 innings, four hits, no runs performance for about 29 more starts, he will not lose a game and that is what it is all about – the results. He will have games where he gives up the long ball, but this was not one of them and that is a good thing as the Astros prevailed 4-1.
Keuchel. The plus side is that even in a loss, he put in six innings and left trailing only 3-1. He got the Rangers to ground into a couple double plays along the way. But a 2nd inning HR by Nomar Mazara put him in a 1-0 hole and when he loaded the bases with nobody out in the 4th, two long sacrifice flies did the rest of the damage and the Astros lost meekly 5-1.
McCullers. Lance gave up two runs in his 5.1 IP of work, but his teammates scored 6 runs while he was in and ended up winning a laugher 9-3 in Arlington. Lance looked sharp as he put up 10 Ks against only one walk and managed to avoid hitting anyone unlike his last start in the seventh game of the World Series. Elvis Andrus cranked a home run against him in the third and then Andrus singled and scored on a Beltre double in the 6th. Those were 3 of the 4 hits he gave up on the day.
Cole. Cole is my new Collin McHugh. Just like I can’t remember how many L’s in Collin, I am struggling with how many T’s in Gerrit. The Rangers wish that was the only struggle they had with Mr. Cole. He gave up an opposite field HR to Joey Gallo in the first and then pitched magnificently, giving up one more hit (to Mr. Andrus of course) in 7 innings paired with 11 Ks for the day. His stuff was nasty and had to have the Arlington club shaking their heads saying – this is the 4th man in the rotation?? The Astros won easily 8-2.
Morton. Salty looked like someone who had gained a lot of confidence in 2017 as he stoned the Orioles in the banner raising home opener of 2018. Morton gave up a couple walks and hit one batter, but only gave up three hits and zero runs in six strong innings. The only drama was a bases loaded jam in the 2nd, where Marwin Gonzalez made a terrific stab of a 2 out line drive to kill the rally. If Morton is your 5th best starter you have one heck of a rotation.
- How is your pulse on the rotation as a whole after one quick five game orbit?
- How do you rank these pitchers 1-5 with a season long view?
- Any worries about Keuchel?
- Who is more important to re-sign at the end of this season – Morton or Keuchel?
- Is this the best rotation in the history of the team?