Houston Astros starting pitcher Brad Peacock (Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports)
Coming into this week’s series with the Philadelphia Phillies, I was excited about the way the Houston Astros were playing and their chances to keep it up against one of the worst offensive teams in baseball.
The Astros had just won three straight against the Toronto Blue Jays after taking a three-game series from the Oakland A’s. Also, the Phillies were having a very difficult season lead by one of my least favorite, and most overpaid, players in the league: Ryan Howard.
So, after one of the longest (and most painful) games of the season on Tuesday night, I didn’t think it could get much worse for the Astros in this series. However, in Wednesday night’s 10-3 loss at Citizen Bank Park, it got worse. It might have been 2 hours and 20 minutes shorter, but it was still worse.
Interestingly, the game started off about as well as you could hope. Astros All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve drove the first pitch of the game into left field for his 157th hit of the season and quickly followed it up with his 45th stolen base of the year.
After that, it was pretty much all down hill for the Astros. They only managed one run in the first inning after getting runners on first and third base with just one out. Then, in the bottom of the frame, the Phillies took advantage of Astros starter Brad Peacock who was returning to the rotation after a stint in the minors.
They got the first two runners on base and then Ryan Howard (of course) drove both of them in on an RBI double. Howard, who had the first four RBIs of the series for Philadelphia, led the Phillies to score more runs in the first inning than they had in their last three games combined.
From there, Peacock’s performance only got worse. He threw a wild pitch that led to a sac fly opportunity for Will Nieves and then intentionally walked the No. 8 hitter, Cody Asche, only to give up an RBI single to Phillies pitcher David Buchanon. Peacock was eventually (finally) pulled for left-hander Darin Downs in the sixth inning. His final line: five innings pitched, seven hits, eight runs, four walks and four strikeouts.
As Greg mentioned earlier today, it’s time for the Astros to consider moving Peacock, whose ERA is up 5.44, out of the rotation and giving one of their young pitchers a chance. They need somebody to take Jarred Cosart’s spot in the rotation for the rest of the year and Peacock made this Phillies team, who had scored two runs in their previous 36 innings before the series, look like an offensive juggernaut.
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Ryan Howard and second baseman Chase Utley were both struggling (two hits in their previous 45 at-bats combined) heading into the series, but Peacock made both look like All-Stars once again. Houston starters had allowed three runs or fewer in eight consecutive games prior to today, but the Phillies scored eight runs in the first four innings tonight.
I know the organization is being cautious with Mike Foltynewicz’s innings count since he is already up over 100 with two months left. After making his second major league appearance tonight and giving up two runs in two innings, I think he will stay in relief. However, the Astros continue to receive praise for their pitching depth, so lets see some of it in action these next two months. No more waiting around.
This was a series the Astros, who are now 47-67, thought they could win and it obviously hasn’t worked out that way. The Phillies have embarrassed them in back-to-back games and it’s been a tough couple days for Astros fan. Through all that, one thing is clear to me: Brad Peacock needs to go.