Results tagged ‘ rotation ’

Peacock to get ball Sunday against Twins

Right-hander Brad Peacock, who has been putting up terrific numbers at Triple-A Oklahoma City, will be recalled to make start Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Twins on Target Field.

The Astros were forced to find a starter for the series finale after Dallas Keuchel came out of the bullpen and worked 1 2/3 innings in a 13-inning loss to the Twins on Saturday. Peacock, who won’t be officially added to the roster until Sunday, is 6-2 with a 2.73 ERA in 14 games (13 starts) with the RedHawks.

“He’s thrown the ball extremely well,” Astros manager Bo Porter said. “That’s obviously factored into the decision-making.”

Peacock, 25, began the year in the Astros rotation and went 1-3 with an 8.44 ERA in five starts before being moved to the bullpen, where he posted a 7.04 ERA in four appearances (7 2/3 innings). Porter said it’s “definitely a possibility” that Peacock could remain in the rotation.

The Astros have had to shuffle their rotation quite a bit in recent days. Lucas Harrell started in place of Bud Norris prior to the Trade Deadline on Tuesday, and Brett Oberholtzer took Erik Bedard’s place Wednesday when he was pushed back with shoulder soreness.

The team has set its rotation for next week’s series against the Red Sox: Oberholtzer on Monday, Jordan Lyles on Tuesday and Jarred Cosart on Wednesday.

Bedard out of Astros rotation

For the second time in less than a week, the Astros made a change in their starting pitching rotation when manager Bo Porter announced Sunday left-hander Erik Bedard would be working out of the bullpen for an indefinite period.

Last week, right-hander Brad Peacock was moved out of the rotation and later sent to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Bedard is 0-2 with an 8.20 ERA in six games for the Astros this year, but has a 9.98 ERA in five starts. He threw 3 1/3 innings of scoreless relief in an Opening Night win over the Rangers before making five starts, four of which the Astros have lost.

“I talked to Erik about it, and he took it well,” Porter said. “He understood the decision, and like I said to him, he’s not a guy that I’ll get up and sit back down. When he gets up [in the bullpen], I’m going to get him up and get him in the game. I understand where he’s at his in his career, but I do believe that he can really help us in a multitude of roles.

“His strikeouts are up and he’s a guy you can bring in if you find a pocket with some lefties that it may be the back end of a game situation, or it may be a long situation where we have a lead going into the sixth inning, kind of like we did Opening Day, and can set up the closer.”

The Astros will take advantage of Monday’s off today to keep Jordan Lyles (Tuesday), Bud Norris (Wednesday) and Lucas Harrell (Thursday) or four days of rest, and Porter said he’ll announce a starter for Friday’s game against the Rangers later in the week.

Left-hander Dallas Keuchel or right-handers Paul Clemens or Jose Cisnero – all of whom are in long relief roles in the bullpen – could make the start, but Porter didn’t rule out making a move. Top pitching prospect Jarred Cosart is scheduled to start Monday for Triple-A Oklahoma City, but the Astros don’t seem in a rush to promote him. Left-hander Brett Oberholtzer is scheduled to throw Friday for the RedHawks.

Peacock moved to the bullpen

Right-hander Brad Peacock, who has struggled as a starter this year, was told Monday by manager Bo Porter he was being moved into the bullpen. The team’s starter for Thursday’s game against Detroit will be announced later. Peacock, acquired from the A’s on Feb. 4 in the Jed Lowrie trade, went 1-3 with an 8.44 ERA in 21 1/3 innings in five starts.

“It more so has to do with us an organization trying to put him in position where he could have some success,” Porter said. “We believe that he’s still a starting pitcher and you guys have witnessed it. We’ve had starters go down in the bullpen and pitch in long relief and they’ve had great success, and we’re hoping the same thing can happen with Brad Peacock.”

Porter wouldn’t say if the Astros’ starter for Thursday would come from among their long relievers — Travis Blackley, Paul Clemens or Jose Ciserno — or from Triple-A.

“Jeff [Luhnow] and I had a good conversation yesterday and we continued that conversation today and we’ll have an announcement later this week of who that starter will be,” he said.

Porter said Peacock just gets need to get some confidence.

“It’s amazing what success can do for you,” he said. “The whole plan is to try to get him down there, find some favorable match-ups and situations to put him in rather than starting the game. Hopefully, the success he’s able to have in the bullpen builds him back up where we get him back into the rotation. That is definitely the plan.”

Peacock had trouble throwing strikes, which got him in deep counts and ran his pitch count up high. The Astros want him to attack hitters more, and the bullpen will give him a chance to do that.

“When you’re a starter and you think about pacing yourself throughout a game where hitters are probably going to see you three times and you’re talking six, seven innings, the difference coming out of the bullpen is basically you come in and say to yourself, ‘This guy’s going to see me one time,'” Porter said. “The mentality of attack is a little bit different coming out of the bullpen.

“When you look at Peacock in the games in which he started, there were a lot of deep counts. From a mental standpoint, one of the things I’m hoping comes out of the bullpen [move] is more of an attack-mode and once he’s in the rotation it carries over.”

Analyzing the Astros rotation

Besides a strong effort from Brett Myers in the April 1 season opener at Philadelphia, the first time through the rotation was a rough one for the rest of the Astros starters: Wandy Rodriguez, Bud Norris, J.A. Happ and Nelson Figueroa.

Myers has started two of the Astros’ six games and is 0-0 with a 2.03 ERA, allowing nine hits and three earned runs in 13 1/3 innings. He’s given the Astros their only two quality starts and appears to be picking up where he left off last year, when he was one of the most consistent pitchers in baseball and went at least six innings in all but one start.

The Astros’ 8.22 ERA by their starters ranks last in baseball entering Friday, well behind Detroit’s 7.75 ERA. The good news is it can only get better, and I’d be surprised if a couple of those guys didn’t come back with good outings this week. And that brings us to today’s poll question. Which starter, other than Myers, do you think is most likely to have a better season?

 

With the Astros set to play 10 consecutive games at home starting tonight against the Marlins at Minute Maid Park, it will be an important second time through the rotation for Rodriguez, Norris, Happ and Figueroa. The quartet went a combined 0-4 with a 12.98 ERA in their first four starts combined, with only Figueroa pitching beyond the fourth inning. And that was because the bullpen so taxed that manager Brad Mills had to get as much out of him as he could.

The good news is Rodriguez, Norris and Happ — who will face the Marlins this weekend — have pitched better at Minute Maid Park:

  • Rodriguez is 3-2 with a 2.35 ERA in six career starts vs. Marlins and is 38-26 in his career at Minute Maid.
  • Norris is 5-5 with a 4.43 ERA in 14 home starts last year.
  • Happ is 4-1 with a 3.22 ERA in eight career starts at Minute Maid.

The message here is don’t panic. It’s one time through the rotation against a pair of teams favored to win their divisions. Not that the Astros don’t want to one day be able to beat good teams — they did sweep the Phillies last year — but there is plenty of baseball left. The Marlins, Cubs and Padres are coming to town, and if the Astros manage a, say, 6-4 homestand, they’re 7-9 and in much better shape than they were last year at that time.

Backe to the bullpen, Paulino improving

The Astros released their probable pitchers for next week’s Interleague Series against the Kansas City Royals at Minute Maid Park, and it appears right-hander Brandon Backe is getting moved back to the bullpen after making one start. Backe gave up four hits and three runs in four innings Thursday in Arlington and left the game with a finger blister.

Russ Ortiz will open the series Tuesday, and Roy Oswalt will pitch Wednesday on four days of rest. The Astros could have used Monday’s off day to give Oswalt another day coming off a 126-pitch performance Friday in Minnesota, but chose to keep him on four days of rest. Brian Moehler, who pitched Saturday against the Twins, is scheduled to throw Thursday’s finale.

Considering Wandy Rodriguez would be scheduled to pitch Friday against Detroit (the Astros haven’t released their probable starters for that series), Backe is the odd man out.

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Right-hander Felipe Paulino, on the disabled list with a strained groin, threw about 60 pitches in the bullpen prior to Saturday’s game in Minnesota and said he felt fine. He will throw live batting practice next week in Houston, after which the Astros will make a decision about his future. 

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