Oct 6, 2015; Bronx, NY, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcherDallas Keuchel
(60) looks for the sign against the New York Yankees during the first inning in the American League Wild Card playoff baseball game at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
4. Dallas Keuchel Will Only Start One Game
Houston ace Dallas Keuchel might be the best starting pitcher on either team. Keuchel finished the regular season with an impressive 20-8 record, 2.48 ERA, and solid 8.4 strikeout per nine (K/9). The 27-year-old Keuchel isn’t a guy with great stuff. Instead, he wins with exceptional command. In many ways, 2015 was his coming out party as a dominant starter.
Unfortunately for the Astros, they had to use Keuchel to win the play-in game against the Yankees. While Keuchel came through with eight shutout innings with seven strikeouts in New York, that game took place on Tuesday night. With the ALDS starting in Kansas City on Thursday, Keuchel will likely be too short on rest to start either of the first two games.
The ALDS schedule begins with games 1 and 2 on Thursday and Friday in Kansas City. The teams have a travel day on Saturday before games 3 and 4 in Houston. Tuesday is again an off day, with game 5 (if necessary) on Wednesday in KC.
Pitching on Friday would mean Keuchel would have to pitch on three days rest. Yet, he would pretty much have to pitch game 2 to hope to start a second game in the series (game 5 with a full five days of rest). If the Astros hold Keuchel until game 3, he would go on three days rest to appear in game 5.
Significantly, the Astros have only announced Collin McHugh as their game 1 starter. They’ve left open the option of coming back with Keuchel in game 2, depending on how he feels and, perhaps, the results of game 1.
Even if Keuchel does manage to make two starts in the series, he will be doing so on short rest.
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