Six moths ago, Zack Greinke and Dallas Keuchel were two of the biggest names in baseball.
Keuchel had just won the AL Cy Young, and carried the Astros past the Yankees in the Wild Card game. Greinke had arguably the best season ever by any player to not win the award, as he went 19-3 with a microscopic 1.66 ERA. Greinke had turned this season into a $206.5-million contract, and Keuchel seemed potentially destined to do the same.
This year could not have gone any more different for either player. Greinke has already allowed 37 earned runs this season, just four less than he allowed all season in 2015. Keuchel has a 72 ERA+, almost 90 points less than his league-leading 160 mark he posted last season.
Each of these mediocre pitchers will take the mound against each other tonight. This may have called for a nationally televised stage last season. But tonight, it will only be a battle of a pitcher with a 4.71 ERA against a pitcher with a 5.58 ERA.
The performances of both pitchers have served as a microcosm of each team’s dissapointing season. For the Diamondbacks, a once-promising season fueled by the additions of Greinke, Shelby Miller and Tyler Clippard has been marred with injuries and poor pitching, leaving the team buried behind the Giants and Dodgers. For the Astros, Sports Illustrated’s preseason pick to win it all, it seems like just about everyone except Jose Altuve has gotten off to a rough start. They have looked like the Astros of old.
Today, we’ll see which of baseball’s two most disappointing aces– and teams– comes out on top.