Matt Jones is the online sports director for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A two-time graduate of the University of Arkansas, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, and voter for the Biletnikoff Award.
Smyly to face Keuchel on Thursday
Former Arkansas pitchers Drew Smyly (left) of the Detroit Tigers and Dallas Keuchel of the Houston Astros are scheduled to start a game Thursday. (AP Photos by Carlos Osorio and Pat Sullivan)
FAYETTEVILLE A pair of former Arkansas pitchers are slated to face off Thursday afternoon in Detroit.
Drew Smyly and Dallas Keuchel are due up in the rotation that day for a game between the Tigers and Astros. The left-handers were roommates during their tenures for the Razorbacks and helped Arkansas advance to the College World Series in 2009.
Smyly is 2-1 with a 2.45 earned run average this season for the Tigers. The Little Rock native is coming off an impressive performance in his last outing, allowing only two runs and striking out six batters in seven innings at Kansas City.
Keuchel is 2-2 with a 3.96 ERA this season for the Astros. He gave up four runs on four hits in a loss against Oakland on Saturday - his first loss in the five outings since his season debut.
Smyly and Keuchel are two of four former Razorbacks who are currently starting pitchers in MLB, alongside the Phillies' Cliff Lee and the Diamondbacks' Mike Bolsinger. Thursday's game will be the third time two former Arkansas pitchers started the same MLB game.
Mike Oquist and Robert Person faced each other June 1, 1997, and Cliff Lee and Dan Wright squared off September 7, 2003.
The Tigers and Astros begin their four-game series today. Thursday's game is scheduled to begin at 12:08 p.m. and will be televised regionally by MLB Network.