Spring Training is full of tough decisions for the Astros: who will play first base? Or third base? Who will be the closer? But, the easiest decision for manager A.J. Hinch in naming his Opening Day starter, Dallas Keuchel -- as reported by MLB.com writer Brian McTaggart.
Keuchel won the 2015 American League Cy Young award after posting a 20-8 record with a 2.48 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP in 33 games.
The left-hander was a historic at home at Minute Maid Park in 2015 with a 15-0 record with a 1.46 ERA and a .889 WHIP. That would be helpful if not for the fact that the Astros are starting away from home for the first in three seasons. The Astros will play the New York Yankees on Opening Day at Yankees Stadium on April 4.
The last time Keuchel pitched at Yankee Stadium was the 2015 American League Wild Card Game, Keuchel pitched six scoreless innings in Houston's 3-0 win, allowing three hits, one walk and striking out seven.
This will be Keuchel's second straight opening day start. Keuchel won a pitchers' duel, 2-0, with the 2014 Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber on April 6, 2015. Keuchel allowed three hits, three walks, and struck out four in seven inning.
Another note about Keuchel:
Dallas Keuchel received the highest increase in Arbitration this offseason, reports the Associated Press.
"The salary of the Houston Astros ace rose 1,282 percent, from $524,500 to $7.25 million"