Houston Astros Are Here to Stay
The first playoff game of the 2015 MLB season has come and gone and out of the dust the Houston Astros arose victorious. The Astros seemed as though they could do no wrong on their way to defeating the New York Yankees 3-0 on Tuesday.
Dallas Keuchel continued his dominance over the New York Yankees not allowing a single run to one of this year's more efficient offenses. The Yankees had one last attempt at figuring out Keuchel and finally score a run off of the 20 game winner but just couldn't break the 22 inning scoreless trend against him. Batter after batter, Keuchel mowed down the Yankee lineup for six innings of work and New York had no chance.
Dallas Keuchel performed brilliantly in typical Keuchel fashion but with a little twist for the Yankees. Keuchel has been an exceptionally efficient ground ball pitcher ranking second overall in ground ball percentage (61.7%) leaving behind a lot of frustrated batters. Dallas has proven that you don't have to strike out every batter you face, that you have a defense behind you so you might as well utilize them. It certainly has paid off this year for Keuchel, but last night Keuchel showed his versatility.
While there were a decent amount of ground ball outs by Keuchel, the 20 game winner mixed it up on the powerful Yankee line up with a performance that even Clayton Kershaw would be proud of. Keuchel had excellent location which set him up for his take down pitches. Dallas rarely touched the heart of the plate and took advantage of a very patient lineup, who averages around 4 pitches per at bat, to get ahead in the count early forcing each batter to swing at the wild breaking pitches. His exceptional use of his cutter and slider constantly took away any threat the Yankees had through six innings of work. The biggest threat the Yankees had didn't even have a runner at third. With A-Rod up to bat in the sixth, Keuchel continued to add to A-Rod's 1-7 batting performance against him and kept the Yankee slugger hit-less.
The amazing part about that sixth inning battle with Rodriguez was how Keuchel kept A-Rod off balance throughout the entire at bat and when he threw a cutter up and in the zone, all Rodriguez could do was pop it out to center. Throughout the entire game Keuchel did that, keeping the Yankee batters looking for the corners and even when they did guess it right, they couldn't capitalize on it.
All of this and we haven't even discussed how the Astros took down the shaky pitching staff for New York. Tanaka may have pitched well enough to win against other teams but not enough to beat an Astros team ranked second in home runs as they proved with two solo shots off him.
Next the Astros will take on last year's Cinderella team in the Kansas City Royals in the Divisional round.