Top 10 Keuchel Moments: #4 thru #2
#4 Keuchel dominates Royals in Houston’s first home playoff game in 2015
Keuchel’s first postseason start of 2015 was astounding. But his second start was a reminder of why he would be the Cy Young Award Winner. With the series tied at a game apiece, the Astros hosted the Royals for Game 3. It was the stuff of legends for a pitcher on a team that was shocking the world as Keuchel went seven innings allowing one run on five hits while striking out seven batters.
The only mistake Keuchel made was giving up a leadoff homer to Lorenzo Cain in the fourth inning for an early 1-0 deficit. But the Astros saw no need for concern as they would rally with four runs in the fifth, sixth, and seventh innings combined. Houston won the game 4-2 to take a 2-1 series lead. But sadly, their run ended on a negative note as Kansas City rallied to win the series. Keuchel’s season also ended sadly as he made a bullpen appearance and gave up a late home run to end the series in Game 5. But 2015 was only a notice that Keuchel and the Astros were a team on the rise.
#3 Keuchel wins Cy Young Award
We all know about Keuchel’s four gold gloves. But it was a dominant year for Keuchel in 2015. He managed to win the Cy Young award becoming the first Astro pitcher since Roger Clemens in 2004 to achieve the honor. In addition, Keuchel managed 22 first-place votes, which put him over David Price and Sonny Gray that season.
Keuchel went 20-8 with a 2.48 ERA and 216 strikeouts. This included three complete games, including two complete game shutouts. Hitters were hitting .217 against him all season long and he only walked 51 batters. On a team that was known for hitting home runs and having a Rookie of the Year player, Keuchel was the face of the franchise in 2015.
#2 Keuchel’s role in the Verlander trade
As I said earlier, there are off the field moments of Keuchel’s career as an Astro that were a big part of the team’s success as well. This moment was one of them. It started with Keuchel’s frustration over the team’s lack of action in the deadline.
Even though Houston added Francisco Liriano to bolster the bullpen, it wasn’t enough to put the Astros over the top. You can see the frustration in Keuchel’s face when he made these comments. However, he would play a bigger role in the biggest trade in franchise history when the Astros were able to get Justin Verlander on their side.
As mentioned in the book Astroball and other articles, Keuchel was in his apartment when he received a call from owner Jim Crane. The Astros were hoping to get Verlander, but they needed someone to convince him to join a team that was returning to a city ravaged by Hurricane Harvey. So Keuchel picks up the phone and Verlander explains what happened.
For Dallas to call Justin and tell him he wouldn’t regret the trade to join the Astros was huge. Here was a pitcher that was in the midst of a decent career calling a legendary pitcher that’s achieved more than Keuchel could ever in his career and basically telling him that Verlander was missing a championship ring and he could get it in Houston. Verlander could’ve said no. But the more he thought about it, the more he decided to accept the trade.
Keuchel is the unsung hero in the trade because while Luhnow and Crane deserve to get much of the credit, recruiting a superstar athlete, a common trend in other sports, led to a big dynamic shift that made the Astros good to great. The rest is history as they say.
Before we unveil our number our #1 Keuchel moment, here are a few honorable mentions.
And sure, he would help tell opponents what they should do when he struck them out.
We all were thinking the same thing when Keuchel went on stage at the victory celebration and asked the question. He also makes a shoutout to Verlander with a phone because Justin was getting married to Kate Upton.
Who can ever forget Keuchel’s Korner when he started?
And how about when John Krasinski (Jim from the Office, Red Sox fan) gave him praise on Jack Ryan?
When the Astros won Best Team at the ESPY Awards, who spoke for them?
Then, there was Keuchel was looking at something behind A.J.
And then, of course, there was Keuchel deciding to pose in the Body Issue of ESPN the Magazine.
With all the fortunate and unfortunate moments, it’s time to unveil our #1 Keuchel Moment.