HOUSTON -- Perhaps the most frustrating thing about the struggles of reigning American League Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel is how well the rest of the Astros' rotation has been pitching lately. That gives the Astros hope that getting Keuchel ironed out will help them spark a turnaround to get back into the AL West race.
Keuchel, who went 20-8 with a 2.48 ERA in 33 starts last year, is 2-6 with a 5.92 ERA in 10 starts in 2016. He hasn't won since April 15, going 0-5 with a 7.78 ERA in his seven starts during that stretch while allowing 59 hits and 36 earned runs in 41 2/3 innings. Astros manager A.J. Hinch said Keuchel will start Saturday against the Angels in Anaheim.
"Dallas is searching for answers and he's going to get it," Hinch said. "I know it feels like the world's caving in when Dallas gives up a few runs. It's a bad stretch of starts, but he's going to figure it out and it's going to start with his mechanics and body positioning and how consistently he can get back to getting down the hill. His pitches are really good."
On Sunday, Keuchel retired the first six Rangers batters he faced before hitting Ryan Rua on the foot with a pitch to start the third, and the Rangers went on to score five runs in that inning. He allowed seven runs and nine hits in six innings.
"I do think he's going to turn it around," Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said. "He's working as hard as anybody. The pitching coaches and people that look at the information are all trying to figure out if there's any difference from this year to last year. There's some small, subtle things we were able to find, but at the end of the day I highly rely on Dallas' ability as a competitor to figure out how to get through this rough patch.
"Every baseball player has rough patches. Coming off a tremendous couple of years, this I'm sure is disappointing to him, but I think it's going to motivate him to work that much harder to get back to where he should be."
The rest of the rotation, specifically Mike Fiers, Doug Fister and Collin McHugh, has settled nicely. Fiers is 2-1 with a 3.34 ERA in his last five starts, McHugh is 3-1 with a 3.82 ERA in his last five starts and Lance McCullers has returned to the rotation and is coming off a quality start in his second start of the year.
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.