Keuchel to start Game 1 against Cardinals

October 3rd, 2019

ATLANTA -- A little more than three months after enduring a long stay on the free agent market, will experience the thrill of being the Braves’ starting pitcher in Game 1 of the National League Division Series against the Cardinals.

The Braves announced Keuchel will be on the mound when this best-of-five series begins on Thursday at SunTrust Park. This will be the 10th postseason start for the former American League Cy Young Award winner, who helped the Astros win the 2017 World Series.

“This is what you play for starting on Thursday,” Keuchel said after making his last regular-season start on Friday. “We’re going to be ready to go. That is when the fun starts.”

will start Game 2 and will take the mound in Game 3, which will be played Sunday in St. Louis. Soroka posted a 1.55 ERA over 16 road starts this year.

When the Braves gave Keuchel a one-year, $13 million deal in June, they had visions of him providing a return that would extend beyond the end of the regular season. The veteran left-hander provided much-needed experience to a relatively young rotation, and he’ll now have a chance to once again show how valuable experience can be in October.

Keuchel has produced a 2.84 ERA in his previous nine postseason starts. He blanked the Yankees over seven innings of Game 1 of the 2017 AL Championship Series. A little more than a week later, he allowed three runs against the Dodgers over 6 2/3 innings in Game 1 of the World Series.

Now, Keuchel will face the challenge of subduing the Cardinals’ right-handed-heavy lineup. The 31-year-old southpaw allowed right-handers to bat .281 with a .794 OPS against him. Even when he produced a 0.97 ERA over a six-start stretch from Aug. 14-Sept. 11, righties hit .270 with a .657 OPS against him.

As Keuchel allowed 11 earned runs over the 16 innings he completed within his final three regular-season starts, he surrendered four homers, each of which was hit by a right-handed hitter. Two of those starts were made after the Braves clinched the NL East and had little to play for over the remainder of the regular season.

“Hopefully, we’ll start up a good stretch again this week,” Keuchel said.