Keuchel joins Altuve on AL All-Star squad

Astros left-hander a candidate to start Midsummer Classic

Keuchel joins Altuve on AL All-Star squad

CLEVELAND -- Astros manager A.J. Hinch called lefty Dallas Keuchel hours before he took the ball Monday against the Indians and informed him he had made the American League All-Star team. It certainly came as no surprise considering the numbers Keuchel has amassed this year.

Keuchel, who kept the news secret until it was announced on television Monday night, then went out and picked up his AL-high 11th win of the season by holding the Indians to three runs in six innings in the Astros' 9-4 win in the series opener at Progressive Field.

After the game, Hinch told Keuchel's teammates the good news, and they were able to give him a toast in the same fashion they had toasted second baseman Jose Altuve the night before on the team charter after he was elected to start the July 14 All-Star Game presented by T-Mobile in Cincinnati.

"The team was very excited," Hinch said. "Well deserved. Obviously on a night he wasn't his best, but six innings, three runs, for most pitchers is deemed a quality start. For Dallas, he has his standards pretty high. Great moment for the team to be able to celebrate with Dallas."

Keuchel, who is 11-3 and second in the AL in ERA at 2.14, received 381 votes from the players, which was more than any pitcher in either league. It's his first All-Star appearance after coming up short on the Final Vote last year.

"I mean, I never expected this and it's not something I dwell on, but to be voted in by the players was a very special moment for me just because I battled some of those guys and they're very good players," he said. "For my peers to vote me in is a very special moment and something I'll never forget."

Keuchel earns AL-best 11th win

Now the question becomes: Will Keuchel start the game? He leads the league in wins, innings pitched and is tied for the lead in shutouts, and he has 14 quality starts in 18 outings. He's the first Astros pitcher to win 10-plus games prior to the All-Star break since Roy Oswalt in 2005.

"I'd like to, but nothing like I'm going to fret over," he said. "There's plenty of deserving candidates. I think there's guys a lot more nasty than I am. I'm just happy to be at the game and watch some of the best players in the world go at it."

Hinch will be on manager Ned Yost's coaching staff in Cincinnati, but he doesn't think he needs to sell Yost on Keuchel starting. Roger Clemens (2004), Mike Scott (1987) and J.R. Richard (1980) are the only Astros pitchers to start an All-Star Game.

"I think Dallas is stating his own case," Hinch said. "I don't think he needs any of my help. But Ned knows how I feel. There's multiple guys that have the qualifications to start. I just don't know that anybody's been better and I hope the consideration is strong because Dallas has certainly anchored everything that we're doing."

Hinch on toasting Keuchel

Voting is open now at MLB.com to select the final player for each League's 34-man roster via the 2015 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote. Fans can cast their votes from a list of five players from each League until 3 p.m. CT on Friday.

And the voting doesn't end there. During the Midsummer Classic in Cincinnati on Tuesday, July 14, fans can once again visit MLB.com to submit their choice for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. Voting exclusively at MLB.com, online and via their mobile devices in the 2015 All-Star Game MVP Vote presented by Chevrolet, the fans' collective voice will represent 20 percent of the overall vote that determines the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.

Altuve is AL's second baseman

MLB.TV Premium subscribers will be able to live stream the All-Star Game via MLB.TV through FOX's participating video providers. Access will be available across more than 400 supported MLB.TV platforms, including the award-winning MLB.com At Bat app. MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities, including the 2015 Gillette Home Run Derby presented by Head & Shoulders, part of Gatorade All-Star Workout Day on Monday, July 13. The Derby will feature a new format with brackets and timed rounds and will be broadcast live by ESPN and MLB.com beginning at 7 p.m. CT.

The 86th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports (6 p.m. CT air time, 7:15 first pitch), in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 160 countries. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.

Keuchel becomes the first Astros pitcher to make the All-Star team since Oswalt did it in 2007. He's the first Astros lefty to make it since Billy Wagner in 2003, and the first Astros left-handed starter to make it since Mike Hampton in 1999.

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.