By Bryan Hoch MLB.com
CINCINNATI -- The difficult decision of selecting a starting pitcher to represent the American League was on manager Ned Yost's mind when he filled out his lineup card for the Royals' battle against the Astros' Dallas Keuchel on June 30 in Houston, viewing that matchup as an audition of sorts.
Keuchel aced Yost's evaluation that night, hurling eight scoreless innings in a victory, and the AL will be looking for that same caliber of performance when Keuchel takes the ball to start Tuesday's All-Star Game presented by T-Mobile at Great American Ball Park (6 p.m. CT, FOX).
"It's definitely very exciting," Keuchel said. "I was able to tell my family but I couldn't tell many more, and even my family has loose lips so I was very thankful for them not telling anybody.
"I mean, I never expected this. Just to be on the team with some of the best players in the world is truly an honor. That's the way I'm going to approach it, is just to have as much fun as I possibly can."
Instantly recognizable for his trademark beard, Keuchel has picked up where he left off last year, when he enjoyed a breakout season that established him as one of the best southpaws in the game.
The 27-year-old has logged 11 victories, which is tied for the AL lead, while compiling a 2.23 ERA in 19 starts. Keuchel has posted a 1.00 WHIP and 114 strikeouts over an AL-high 137 1/3 innings.
"He deserves it," said Astros teammate Jose Altuve. "For me, he's the best pitcher in the league right now, and I know he's going to do a really good job. He throws the ball really good and he's having a really good season. What can I say? To start that game, I feel good for him."
Yost will face a National League lineup comprised of Andrew McCutchen, Todd Frazier, Bryce Harper, Paul Goldschmidt, Buster Posey, Anthony Rizzo, Jhonny Peralta, Joc Pederson and DJ LeMahieu.