On paper, this one’s a no brainer.
A former Cy Young winner and one-time ace of the World Series winning team is going up against a thirty-three-year-old career minor leaguer who has only ten major league starts.
No way Austin Bibens-Dirkx has any chance in this one against Dallas Keuchel, right?
Just like last year he had no business being on the same mound as Max Scherzer in Washington.
All he did last June 11 was outduel the eventual National League Cy Young winner with seven innings of three hit ball and one earned run.
Bibens-Dirkx is an afterthought on his own team. But, before the manager and general manager totally dismiss the guy, they need to take a quick peek at next year’s Rangers rotation.
Hamels will be gone. Colon is here for just this season. Doug Fister has a team option for next year—for just $500,000 they get out of having to pay him $4.5 million. Matt Moore has a club option of $750,000 to get out of a horrendous $10 million. If his buyout was $100 million it would be worth it to keep him off the mound.
That leaves Mike Minor, Martin Perez, and Austin Bibens-Dirkx as the only able-bodied starters under contract for next year.
That leaves Mike Minor and Austin Bibens-Dirkx as the only able-armed starters for next year.
Bibens-Dirkx won’t get any respect. He probably won’t get any consideration. But he should get plenty of starts. He has the best ERA of any starter on his team, after all.
And, as the Rangers number-five starter, he is outpitching his counterpart tonight, the number-five starter of the all-world best-team-ever Astros in Dallas Keuchel.
That’s how deep, by contrast, the Astros rotation is. Dallas Keuchel is Houston’s number-five starter. He might not even make the post-season roster since he’s not really a long relief guy and since the Astros have Verlander, Cole, McCullers, and Morton ahead of him., and rarely does the number-five guy matter in the post-season.
Yet, Austin Bibens-Dirkx goes into tonight’s game as the underdog when he is, in fact, the best dog in the fight.
Dallas Keuchel (4-8, 4.22) vs. Austin Bibens-Dirkx (1-1, 3.57)
Game time: 7:05