Baseball fans, scouts and front offices love velocity. If given the choice between a 100-mph fastball and one that's less than 100-mph, why, you'd take the triple-digit heat every time. But in the Astros' 2-1 victory over the Yankees in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series presented by Camping World, Dallas Keuchel showed why that's not a prerequisite for success.
After the Yankees bested the Indians, who may have had the best regular-season pitching staff in baseball history, Keuchel shut them down. The bearded baseballer, the hairy hurler, the shaggy southpaw, pitched seven shutout innings as he consistently pounded the bottom of the strike zone. When the Yankees didn't ground the ball in play, he put them away by ... going low again.
Batters were flummoxed by the two-seamer as he could drop it on the corner:
Just look at that arm-side run. Why would you even bother?
When they tried to swing, the results were no better:
But it wasn't just the two-seamer. Keuchel could bend his slider under the hands to righties, K-ing Aaron Judge for the 17th time this postseason:
And he got Brett Gardner spinning like he was in the dizzy bat race:
Keuchel didn't reach double-digits Ks in a game all season, but with the Astros playing in their first ALCS (the team last appeared in the NLCS in 2005, when they reached the World Series), he stepped up his performance. And he didn't need a blazing fastball to do it.
Tune in to watch Game 2 of the ALCS on Saturday at 4 p.m. ET/3 p.m. CT on FOX.