It was the Astros' hitting we've got to be sad about this week, not the Astros starters who allowed a maximum of four runs this week.
Lance McCullers, Jr.
Although Lance allowed the most runs in one start of any Astros pitcher this week, he also struck out 10 in only six innings (career-high is 11 in nine). He wasn't perfect, and the Astros did score three whole runs, so his allowing four wasn't very helpful, he was still dominant for a good part of the game and deserves recognition for that. It's interesting to see that he pitched on six days' rest, something that will probably happen more often as the season goes on. His FIP is just 0.06 higher than his ERA right now, so don't expect to see much more regression. The only thing yet to normalize is his home run rate (o.28 HR/9, 3.8% HR/FB%), which explains why his xFIP and SIERA are both above three even though his ERA is 2.52. His BB/9 is going up and is now at a slightly more normal 3.36, which is still a career low. But remember: Those walks in the minors were supposedly "by design".
Now this is just plain unlucky. He pitched 6.1 innings of two-run ball and allowed just two walks while striking out five, but he got his first decision of his career: a loss. (*Insert favorite joke about Astros offense here.) He again had a high pitch count, somehow throwing 104 pitches, but hopefully he can get hitters to stop fouling off his pitches. Maybe. I don't know if it's possible. This also might be a first: first pitcher given honorable mention while in the minors. Don't worry, it's temporary. You want to see him in the playoffs just as much as I do (in the bullpen, of course). One thing he must improve: His GB% is 26.4%. Otherwise, he's due for a bit of good regression, but that's about it. Come back soon!
How does he not deserve this? First, he actually got a win this week, in a game that was mostly identical for his loss save for only 6 IP and twice the strikeouts (Astros offense), but second, he got picked to start the All-Star Game and is only the fourth Houston pitcher to do that EVER. Now, the starts this week? Here they are:
Game 1: 6 IP, 9 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 8 K
Game 2: 7 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 K
Keuchel won the first and lost the second. That's why you never put stock in wins, folks. Instead, put stock in the fact that every advanced stat says Keuchel is, at worst, a 2.75 ERA pitcher. Cue the applause. Now go out there and secure homefield advantage for us!