JUPITER, Fla. -- So often, the difference between a solid outing and a frustrating one comes down to one pitch or sequence.
Astros lefty Dallas Keuchel knows that all too well, and one of his major objectives in Spring Training is to minimize damage.
Keuchel took a step in that direction on Monday, tossing two efficient and scoreless innings against the Marlins in Houston's 4-0 win at Roger Dean Stadium.
Actually, Keuchel made quick work of the Marlins' hitters, who were overly aggressive and paid for it.
The lefty threw just 17 pitches, with 14 strikes. He allowed one hit, a second-inning single to Jeff Baker. But that was quickly erased when Casey McGehee tapped into a 6-4-3 double play.
"Last year, two out of three times I did a good job of getting out of jams," Keuchel said. "That one inning was the one that got me. I'm going to do a better job of buckling down and battling through that last little jam you get into to have a good year. Stay away from those crooked numbers."
Keuchel is looking to latch on with the club in any capacity in which he can help. The southpaw started on Monday, but he has relieved in the big leagues as well.
A potential rotation spot could be up for grabs, but he isn't worried about it.
"I just think about me doing my job and whatever happens, happens," he said. "If it's to fall in my lap, I'll take it."
Because of the quick work he had in the actual game, Keuchel went to a back field at Roger Dean Stadium and threw about 35 more pitches, which should have him built up to toss around 50 in his next start.
"I came out of the gate, and my fastball command was pretty good," he said. "That's something I'm trying to work on here in the early part of spring."