Keuchel right where he wants to be

Keuchel right where he wants to be
March 29, 2014, 7:45 pm
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(Kevin Jairaj - USA Today Sports Images)

Dallas Keuchel wanted to go out there and command the baseball in Saturday's start. He did that for the most part as the Astros beat the Rangers,13-6.

Keuchel got the start in Saturday's Alamodome finale against the Rangers. In 4.1 innings, Keuchel gave up four earned runs and six hits, while striking out five and walking one. One of those runs scored after he had left the game in the fifth.

"I felt really good coming out the gate," Keuchel said. "That's a pretty good lineup over there, one through nine. I felt like I held my own and it was just nice to go out there and compete against a pretty prestigious team. I gave up a few hits there in the fourth and in the fifth, but sometimes it's kind of hard knowing what some guy's like, what areas they like to hit in, and stuff like that, so I'm pretty pleased overall with the outing."

Another goal of Keuchel for his Saturday start was to improve on his first-inning performances. In his previous two starts, the lefty had given up seven runs over the first innings of those starts.

Saturday didn't get off to the best of starts either, with two Astros errors quickly leading to a Rangers run and having Donnie Murphy still on second base with nobody out. Keuchel responded by striking out both Prince Fielder and Adrian Beltre before getting Alexis Rios to ground out and end the threat.

"To be able to get Prince out and Beltre out in consecutive order on strikeouts is pretty big for me just because Beltre's had some success against me in the past (.333 batting average against in 2013), so going forward, it's kind of a confidence booster for me," Keuchel said.

And now, the regular season is ready for Keuchel. Keuchel is ready for the regular season.

"I felt like the ball's coming out a little bit better than it has," Keuchel said. "I think my body's bouncing back a little bit better than my first three starts, so I'm definitely happy with that. I'm just going to try to roll forward."