Keuchel (0-1) allowed four runs (three earned) on eight hits with three strikeouts and no walks across five innings while taking a loss during his 2019 major league debut against the Nationals on Friday. The left-hander threw 99 pitches, but Keuchel appeared to wear down in the final two innings of his outing. He looked fairly sharp in the first three frames, stranding baserunners in all three innings, but the Nationals broke through thanks in part to an error in the fourth and scored again in the fifth. Keuchel begins his Braves tenure with an 0-1 mark and 5.40 ERA. He will make his second start of the season at the Cubs on Wednesday.
Keuchel was called up from Double-A Mississippi to start Friday's game at Washington. Keuchel made one start at Double-A and one start at Low-A over the last two weeks since signing with the Braves and is now primed for his 2019 debut in the majors. The 31-year-old showed no major signs of rust in the minors with three runs allowed across 14 innings, but the first real test will come Friday against the Nationals.
Keuchel will be added to the Braves' active roster and start Friday's game against the Nationals, David O'Brien of The Athletic reports. Atlanta may not officially activate Keuchel until Friday, but the team already cleared a spot for him on the 25-man roster by optioning reliever Huascar Ynoa to Triple-A Gwinnett following Wednesday's win over the Mets. Keuchel covered 106 pitches in his most recent rehab outing at Double-A Mississippi last weekend, so it's not expected that he'll face any significant workload restrictions in his first outing with the Braves.
Manager Brian Snitker said he's hopeful Keuchel will be added to the Braves' roster to start Friday's game against the Nationals, Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports. Atlanta is still listing Friday's pitcher as "TBA," but unless Keuchel reports some sort of physical issue within the next day or two, he'll make his team debut this weekend. The Braves already cleared a starting spot for Keuchel by moving Sean Newcomb (head) back to the bullpen, so the team won't need to reconfigure its rotation to clear room for the big free-agent pickup. Keuchel isn't expected to face any major workload restrictions upon joining the Braves after tossing 106 pitches in his most recent rehab start at Double-A Mississippi last weekend.
Keuchel allowed three earned runs on 11 hits across seven innings in a tune-up start Saturday at Double-A Mississippi. Keuchel did allow a high number of baserunners, but that gave him the opportunity to extend his pitch count to 106 (74 strikes). Most of that damage was done in the first inning, when the veteran lefty gave up two runs on three hits, which all started with a leadoff double. It was a much tougher test than his first outing in Low-A, where he tossed seven innings of one-hit ball. With more situational experience under his belt, Keuchel now believes he could start for the Braves in the upcoming week if called upon, according to the Jackson Clarion Ledger. The report indicated Keuchel used all five of his pitches, with his velocity landing in the 86-89 MPH range. After the start, the former Cy Young winner noted "I'm not trying to rush myself. Probably tomorrow will be a better judgment of where we're going to be at in the next four or five days." Based on those words, it might be a bit risky to put Keuchel in lineups for the upcoming week, though getting a start isn't necessarily outside the realm of possibility.