Keuchel's first start a success
Dallas Keuchel certainly did his job in his first start of the season for the Astros.
Houston may have lost 4-2 to the Rangers, but Keuchel stymied the Rangers bats. In six innings, the lefty held Texas to five hits, two runs, and two walks. He struck out three. After six innings, Keuchel had only 83 pitches, and he said he felt he had something still left in the tank. But Astros manager Bo Porter elected to take Keuchel out, to work his pitch count up gradually, and to make sure this start was end up being thought of more encouragingly as opposed to the alternative.
"I'm one of those that really believe in quality, positive starts," Porter said. "And that there is a positive start. The worst-case scenario: we come in and we score one and he gets a win. Or he gets a no-decision."
"(The pitch count) was actually my high of the year, believe it or not," Keuchel said. I definitely wanted to go back out, but I totally respect the manager's decision. And his decision was to pull me on a good note and I respect that."
And this start certainly had good vibes.
"My body's been responding well even though I haven't thrown necessarily a lot of pitches, you know, up towards a hundred," Keuchel said. "My body felt good and I got hot pretty quick, so I saved a few bullets and was able to settle in a little bit."
Outside of Nelson Cruz's mammoth home run, shortened by Keuchel to "mamm-o-bomb" afterwards, the pitcher said the run he wanted to have back, the pitches that he wanted to have back, was the walk of Elvis Andrus in the third that forced in a run. Otherwise, this was one heck of a first start to his Astros season.
"It's a big confidence booster," he said. "A great lineup like that, anytime you can have success, a team like that, it definitely boosts your confidence, but I've always been confident in what I can do and I'm going to try to build on that.
"I try to prove myself every time out," Keuchel added. "I'm one of those guys that likes when people talk trash. That kind of motivates me. Every time I get the ball, I'm just trying to prove somebody wrong."
Proving his naysayers wrong is one thing. With the performance like the one he had on Friday night, Keuchel proved Porter right in putting him into the starting rotation.