Astros: Dallas Keuchel Named 2017 Opening Day Starting Pitcher
The 2015 Cy Young Award Winner, Dallas Keuchel, will make his third consecutive Opening Day start for the Astros.
After a rough 2016 campaign, Dallas Keuchel has been a topic of much discussion regarding his rebound from injury. But Astros manager A.J. Hinch has confirmed Keuchel as his Opening Day starter, showing confidence in the left-hander. This all bodes well for Houston as Keuchel is a key piece to the organization’s championship aspirations in 2017.
Keuchel’s presence is great as he is one of the most marketed players in the organization. For example, you have Keuchel’s Korner along with mantras of “Fear the Beard” and “Let’s Get Beard”. To an Astros fan, these are household sayings when it comes to the left-hander. He is also loved by numerous fans and friends of the organization. His emergence as the Opening Day starter though isn’t all that surprising, however, it opens the door for a front row seat for his hopeful comeback tour.
During Spring Training, Keuchel has allowed just two runs in 12 innings of play. He is showing signs of good health and improved control heading into 2017. He has met the demands of pitch count and performance, showing he is ready to take the mound on Opening Day.
Seattle poses a great test for Keuchel, as their lineup boasts quality left- and right-handed batters. He will also face premier players in Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz, and Kyle Seager. We will get to see him pitch against a divisional opponent and set a tone for what should be a very exciting 2017 season.
Opening Day is April 3rd, at Minute Maid Park, with a 7:05pm first pitch time. Hometown fans will have a chance to root Keuchel on as he makes his first start since falling to a shoulder injury in 2016. The stadium will be full of energy and a fiery atmosphere. Personally, I cannot think of a better way to start the season.
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Keuchel has had positive experiences in the past as the Opening Day starter as he is currently 2-0 in such starts. You may remember his 2015 start in which Keuchel threw seven innings of shutout baseball against the Cleveland Indians. That effort translated into an Astros 2-0 victory. Last year, Keuchel pitched 7 innings, allowing just two runs. His effort paved the way for a 5-3 victory over the New York Yankees. We are anxiously awaiting the result of this year’s affair.
**Statistics and information courtesy of Baseball Reference, ESPN and MLB.com**