What a week this was for Astros pitching. Outside of an Oberholtzer meltdown, everyone pitched well and a few pitchers dominated.
McHugh may only be four starts removed from an 8-run outburst in just 3 innings, but he's suddenly become the ace we were all predicting him to be before the season. In his two starts this week, he went 8 innings in each allowed 3 total runs, (unintentionally)walked 3, and struck out 14. In his second start, he allowed just two hits. He's still been unlucky on the season: his HR/9 is 1.15, and his BABIP is .307 (even though his LD% is 5.5% lower than last year, where his BABIP was .259). His SIERA, which is much more representative of his true value, sits at 3.77, which is much lower than his 4.51 ERA. McHugh looks to be back, and the stats support that conclusion.
Lance McCullers, Jr.
McCullers had two nearly identical starts this week: four hits in each, one run allowed, 2 vs. 3 walks, and six strikeouts, with the only difference being he went 1 more innings in yesterday's game (7 IP). This was a great bounceback from his previous (read: only bad) start in which he allowed five runs (three earned) over 4.1 innings. I know people are ready to crown Correa ROTY already, but consider this:
Player A: 8.11 K/9, 2.93 BB/9, .259 BABIP, 2.09 ERA, 2.68 FIP, 3.27 SIERA, 3.31 xFIP, .028 IP/fWAR
Player B: 9.79 K/9, 3.04 BB/9, .254 BABIP, 2.19 ERA, 2.65 FIP, 3.25 SIERA, 3.39 xFIP, .028 IP/fWAR
Player A is Sonny Gray in 2015. Player B is Lance McCullers in 2015. Basically, Lance McCullers is Sonny Gray with more strikeouts. Chew on that.
Watching Dallas Keuchel on Thursday was awe-inducing. If that wasn't his best outing (that White Sox game was crazy good too), then it's tied for it. Keuchel allowed six hits and walked one, seemingly all in the ninth, but he struck out 12 and pitched a complete-game shutout. It was awesome to behold. And yet, a Yankees fan still texted me afterward: "Who the f*ck is this guy?" This guy has a 64.5% GB% to go along with a 15.6% FB%. This guy has a HR/FB% of 14.0% (unsustainably high). This guy has 4.1 bWAR. This guy has an ERA of 2.17 and an RA9 (unearned runs count) of 2.24. His ERA+ is 181 (last year's was 132). He allows a league-fewest 6.3 H/9. Who is this guy with average stuff?