The Braves made the expected official Tuesday, naming left-hander Dallas Keuchel their Game 1 starter for the NLDS, which begins Thursday at 5:02 p.m. at SunTrust Park.
Keuchel, 31, is a former Cy Young winner who boasts the richest resume on the Braves’ staff. He’s pitched in 10 postseason games (nine starts), posting a 3.31 ERA with a 48:16 strikeout-to-walk ratio in those games (51-2/3 innings). The southpaw won a World Series with the Astros in 2017.
“I’ve pitched in the wild card (game), I’ve pitched Game 1, I’ve pitched Game 3,” Keuchel said after his final regular-season start last week. “It doesn’t really matter as long as you’re pitching. That’s the main key, getting out there and pitching in a meaningful game. This is what you play for starting on Thursday. We’re going to be ready to go.”
Seeking a starter to front their rotation, the Braves signed Keuchel in June after his elongated free agency extended into the season. The team inked him to a one-year, $13 million deal that instantly added legitimacy to their rotation.
Keuchel started 19 games for the Braves, earning a 3.75 ERA while striking out 91 and walking 39 across 112-2/3 innings.
The Braves haven’t announced the rest of their rotation, but Mike Foltynewicz is on schedule to start Game 2. Mike Soroka, their 22-year-old All-Star, likely will start Game 3 on the road. Keuchel would be available in a potential Game 4 or Game 5 after starting Game 1.
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