One year after winning the American League Cy Young award, Astros pitcher Dallas Keuchel is not pitching well this season. Are the home/road splits contributing?
The Houston Astros made big strides in becoming a contender in their division. The team made the playoffs last year for the first time since 2005. They brought up a lot of young bats and had a solid rotation. The pitching staff was anchored by the eventual AL Cy Young winner, Dallas Keuchel. This season, however, has been a complete 180. So, what is the cause for the regression?
Let’s take a quick look at his 2015 final line. Keuchel went 20-8 with a 2.48 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 8.4 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9. Those are fantastic numbers. While there were some pitchers with a better ERA, he was only one of two starting pitchers with 20 wins. He finished second in innings pitched, two outs behind Clayton Kershaw.
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The only thing that contributed was his home/road splits. In 18 home starts, he had a 1.46 ERA and 0.89 WHIP. In 15 road starts, he had a 3.77 ERA and 1.18 WHIP. He was 15-0 at home and just 5-8 on the road. So with an offseason to recalibrate, Keuchel should be a better pitcher overall, right? Wrong.
In six starts this season, he is 2-4 with a 5.11 ERA, 1.57 WHIP, 7.3 K/9 and 4.4 BB/9. Dallas Keuchel is currently ranked 110th among all starting pitchers on the ESPN Player Rater. He has just one good outing this season, eight shutout innings with five hits, one walk and four strikeouts. Digging deeper, it’s again because of his home/road splits, but not by much.
In the small sample size, his away ERA is over two runs higher than his home ERA (5.84 to 3.65). He has made two more starts on the road than at home, but the fact remains, he does not pitch well on the road. The four teams he faced on the road were the New York Yankees, Milwaukee Brewers, Texas Rangers and Seattle Mariners. The first two teams combined for nine hits and five runs. The second two combined for 19 hits and 11 runs.
So, if you own Dallas Keuchel, do you start to bench him when the Astros are on the road? It would be hard to bench him in any league format, but until things improve, I would have to say yes.
Dallas Keuchel’s next start will be Saturday, at home against the Seattle Mariners. I am interested to see how he performs in this outing. He faces a team that rocked him before, but he’s in Houston this time. Keuchel was drafted in the fifth round as the No. 11 starting pitcher. I know it’s early in the season, but a year-plus worth of data is enough to make owners nervous.