The Astros and ace Dallas Keuchel have tabled extension talks until the off-season, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports. He notes that the Astros would like to sign him to at least a four-year deal, which would cover at least one of his free agency years.
Keuchel, 27, will become eligible for arbitration for the first time after the season, and won’t be eligible for free agency until after the 2018 season. He’s due a hefty raise over his 2015 salary of $524,500, as he currently leads the American League with 16 wins and a 2.24 ERA, along with a 173/42 K/BB ratio over 192 2/3 innings. The lefty finished with a 2.93 ERA last season as well.
The Astros enter play Friday with a 73-61 record, leading the AL West by two games over the Rangers. They stand a good chance at ending their post-season drought, which extends back to 2005, so it may not be until late October or November that the two sides will discuss a new contract.
With his Astros trailing the Tigers 2-1, catcher Robinson Chirinos began his at-bat in the bottom of the ninth a triple shy of the cycle. He doubled in the second inning, singled in the fourth, and hit a solo homer in the seventh. Yordan Álvarez and Yuli Gurriel both struck out, leaving the Astros’ fate in the hands of Chirinos against Joe Jiménez. After working the count to 2-1, Chirinos slapped an 85 MPH slider to the gap in right-center field. A diving Travis Demeritte could not come up with the ball, but center fielder Harold Castro fired the ball back in to Gordon Beckham, who then made a perfect throw to Dawel Lugo at third base. Chirinos was tagged out for the final out of the game. No triple, no cycle. The Astros lost 2-1.
Chirinos was attempting to become the first Astro to hit for the cycle since Brandon Barnes on July 19, 2013 against the Mariners.
The Astros entered Wednesday’s game as the largest favorite in 15 seasons, according to ESPN’s David Purdum. The Astros were -500 per Caesars Sportsbook. Other sportsbooks had them at -550. So the Tigers’ win was quite the upset.
Justin Verlander went the distance in the loss. The only blemishes on his line were solo homers to Ronny Rodríguez in the fifth and John Hicks in the ninth. They were the only hits he allowed while walking none and striking out 11.