A Tale of Two Lefties

Dallas Keuchel
Houston Astros

 

A Tale of Two Lefties

Oakland (8) @ Houston (1), Minute Maid Park,

Friday, April 27, 2018, 7:05 PM.

For five solid and time-breezy innings last night, lefty starters Sean Manaea (4-2) of the Oakland Athletics and Dallas Keuchel (1-4) of the Houston Astros tied up in one of the most delightful pitching competitions we’ve seen in a long while. Each man retired all nine batters they each faced through the third inning, and Keuchel even extended his play with perfection by retiring all three men he saw in the top of the fourth.

Some clever old school running in the top of the fourth then enabled George Springer to reach first base and eventually score on a slashing single to right by Carlos Correa in the bottom of the fourth. That 1-0 crooked number advantage for the Astros was looking pretty good with the stuff that Keuchel was showing, but we needed more caution with the wind that suddenly entered our sails. It had not come from any kind of big sign of a break in A’s pitcher Manaea. It had come, as we said, from some brilliant small ball play by Springer and Correa.

Then came the top of the 5th. Game 2 had begun after Keuchel recorded his 13th out of the necessary 27 perfect game outs.

Matt Coleman promptly banged a solo homer into the left field Crawford Street Boxes, tying the game at 1-1. Then, after the Astros drew another goose egg in the bottom of the 5th. Chad Pinder of the A’s piled another shot into the Crawfords with a man on base to extend the score to 3-1, Oakland.

The 7th inning saw Keuchel do something he had never done before. He gave up his third home run in a single game for the first time in his history. This one came with another runner on, falling over the right field wall and barely out of the reach of a frustrated George Stringer. Those two runs and another single score in the 7th extended the score to 6-1, A’s.

Manaea and Keuchel both left the game after the 7th, but the A’s would score two more in the top of the 8th off reliever Joe Smith to make the final score, 8-1, Oakland on 10 hits and 1 error. The Astros closed with 1 run, 5 hits, and 0 errors.

Manaea gave up no earned runs in 7 innings, registering 7 strikeouts and 1 walk. Keuchel gave up 6 earned runs on 7 hits, with 3 strikeouts, 0 walks, 3 home runs, and 4 wild pitches.

What happened to Dallas Keuchel? Who knows?

It did seem that his pitches were rising as the game wore on, but maybe that’s not something you can read by TV – or even close up, if you don’t have the right viewing angle. (And the last time I checked, the batter, the catcher, and the home plate umpire own “dibs” on those three spots.)

Sometimes it can be a swelling or an injury to the throwing hand that only the pitcher himself notices that accounts for the kind of game that Mr. Keuchel had last night. Sometimes it can be the result of a mental distraction. Sometimes it’s just the common affliction of being human that causes us to falter at the worst of all moments. Whatever it was last night, let’s hope Dallas gets over it soon. A 20% winning percentage by any of our starters is not conducive to our goal of seeing the Astros repeat as World Series Champions in 2018.

If you have any thoughts on what happened to Dallas Keuchel last night, please let us hear from you. We like the guy, but we need him to be the pitcher of Cy Young seed that he obviously once was – and was again – for the first four innings of last night’s game.

 

********************

Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

 

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One Response to “A Tale of Two Lefties”

  1. gregclucas Says:

    Two of the homers were just off bad pitches…not poorly chosen pitches. Just poorly located. Astros biggest problem right now is too many hitters well off 2017 form. Power way down. Far more strikeouts. Serious? Not yet, but still troubling. Marisnick and Fisher barely better than pitchers in order.

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