What happened to the beards?
Better beard in Houston: Dallas Keuchel or James Harden? [Credit: Pat Sullivan/AP]
In 2015, it was “fear the beard”. But after one year has passed, normalcy has kicked in. Both Dallas Keuchel and James Harden were rather untouchable just a year ago. The Rockets made it all the way to the Western Conference Finals where they would be eliminated by Golden State. The Astros jumped on the back of Dallas Keuchel who led them all the way through the wild card and into the ALDS, where I might add, they gave the team that went on to win it all a run for their money (Kansas City Royals).
James Harden kept racking up Western Conference player of the months, Dallas Keuchel took the Cy Young Award home just a year ago. What a difference a year can make, eh?
This year for the Astros, Keuchel is finishing up the year currently at 9-12 w/l record. Compare that to a year ago where he had a 20-8 season. From 2015-16 his ERA doubled from a stifling 2.48 in ’15 to 4.55 in ’16.
There is no complaining about James Harden’s offense. There was never a shortage of points for the guard out of Arizona State. But over the course of his career, Harden’s defense has been a cause for concern. Steals are down from a year ago as well as blocks. Turnovers have increased with each year he has been in the league. Last season Harden averaged a whopping 4.6 turnovers and in the playoffs that number jumped up to 5.2 turnovers.
Maybe it’s just that time for them to shave the beard and see if that will bring them any more success in the years to come. Right now there is not really a reason for any teams to fear the beard in Houston.