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Dallas Keuchel is back to 2015 form

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In 2015, Astros starter Dallas Keuchel won the American League Cy Young Award after posting a stellar 2.48 ERA and 1.017 WHIP in 33 starts. He also struck out 216 batters in a league-high 232 innings. In the playoffs he led the Astros to a win over the Yankees in the American League Wild Card Game, tossing six shutout innings.

Heading into 2016 it was expected that Keuchel would once again anchor the Astros’ staff. Unfortunately, it was a bad campaign for the sinkerballer. He had a shoulder injury and, even when he was pitching, he suffered command problems. He finished the season with a 9-12 record and a 4.55 ERA. His hits and walks allowed were up and his strikeouts were down. The sinker wasn’t sinking and his groundball percentage was down. Even when the ball was hit on the ground, it found holes, with his BABIP going from an excellent .269 in 2015 to .304 last year.

Heading into this season, the biggest question the Astros had was whether their rotation would be good enough to help the team get back to the playoffs. If Keuchel could be an ace again, the club would be in good shape. If not, [cliche movie quote about problems/Houston deleted]. Well, the club is in good shape again.

Keuchel has gone exactly seven innings in each of his first four starts. He allowed zero runs in his first start of the year and one each in the next three, including last night’s win over the Angels. He’s 3-0 with 22 strikeouts and only six walks in 28 innings and a 0.96 ERA. He has been inducing grounders at a 70% clip and opposing hitters have a mere .194 average on balls in play.

In other words, Keuchel is Keuchel again. And because of that it’s no accident that the Astros are tied for the most wins in baseball.

Report: Brewers sign Yovani Gallardo to a major league deal

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Free agent right-hander Yovani Gallardo is headed back to the Brewers on a major league deal, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports. No other terms have been reported yet, as the agreement is still pending a physical.

Gallardo, 31, completed a one-year run with the Mariners before getting his $13 million option declined by the team last month. He provided little value during his time in Seattle, pitching to a 5-10 record in 22 starts and putting up a 5.72 ERA, 4.1 BB/9 and 6.5 SO/9 in 130 2/3 innings as both a starter and reliever.

Still, assuming the veteran righty is on the cusp of a comeback, he may as well try for it with his original club. Gallardo last appeared for the Brewers from 2007 to 2014, racking up a cumulative 20.8 fWAR and peaking during the 2010 season, when he earned his first All-Star nomination and Silver Slugger award. This will be his ninth career season with the club.

Even with Gallardo aboard, the Brewers are expected to continue deepening their pitching stores for 2018. With team ace Jimmy Nelson still recovering from shoulder surgery, the club will enter the season with a projected rotation of Gallardo, Zach Davies, Chase Anderson and Junior Guerra, the latter of whom pitched just 70 1/3 innings in 2017 following a right calf strain and shin contusion. Another big name pitcher could help cement Milwaukee’s rotation and keep them competitive for another year, though they don’t appear to have made any concrete moves in that direction so far.