Injuries have limited the depth of the Houston Astros roster. But a fix may be coming soon while the team looks at potentially adding San Francisco Giants right-hander Jeff Samardzija. According to a report, ace Dallas Keuchel will make his first rehab start on Monday.
— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) July 15, 2017
It’s certainly a promising sign that Keuchel is not only returning, but feeling good.
Keuchel has been on the DL with a neck injury and hasn’t pitched since June 2. He was extraordinary prior to his injury, posting a 1.67 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, and 69 strikeouts in 11 starts over 75.2 innings.
The Astros’ place in the standings gives them a nice luxury. Houston has a 16.5 game lead in the American League West and is 10 clear of the Boston Red Sox for the junior circuit’s best record.
So, while the Astros certainly want Keuchel back, they can afford to be careful and patient with him.
Given how far Houston is ahead in the standings, it’s most important that Keuchel be back and at full strength for the postseason. Even as good as the Astros are, a deep October run without Keuchel at full strength will be hard to manage.
If, however, he’s back and at full strength, then Houston is easily the favorite in the American League and possibly all of baseball.