Earlier this month, the Atlanta Braves signed left-hander Dallas Keuchel to . He has since started two minor-league games, during which he’s permitted three runs and recorded 13 strikeouts across 14 innings. While it’s just two starts against modest competition, the Braves have seemingly seen enough to be encouraged by Keuchel’s stuff and conditioning to the point where the plan is to start Keuchel on Friday against the Washington Nationals, according to David O’Brien of the Athletic:
Keuchel remained a free agent throughout the winter and spring due to a combination of factors, including but not limited to his clash with the modern preferred pitching style. Whereas teams desire high-velocity, high-spin pitchers who can challenge batters with blazing fastballs up in the zone, Keuchel is a low-velocity, low-spin finesse southpaw who succeeds with heady sequencing and proper location. Clearly eschewing the norm has worked for him, given he’s posted a 107 ERA+ with a 2.76 strikeout-to-walk ratio over the last three seasons.
When the Braves inked Keuchel, the assumption was that Kevin Gausman would move to the bullpen. Gausman is now on the injured list due to plantar fasciitis. Presumably, Gausman will shift to relief upon his return.
The Braves entered Monday with a 42-30 record, good for a 2.5-game lead over the Philadelphia Phillies for first place in the National League East. Atlanta has won 12 of its 15 games in June, including nine of its last 10.