Astros Prediction: Brad Peacock gets one more start before returning to bullpen
The Astros need Brad Peacock in that bullpen!
Brad Peacock pitched his butt off last night for seven innings. After only allowing one run in those seven innings while striking out nine batters. The Astros went on to win the game 6-2 behind Peacock’s pitching and the two homers by Evan Gattis. In July, Peacock has a 2.37 ERA with 20 strikeouts in 19 innings. The Astros have won all three of those games with him getting the win.
With less than two weeks left, Peacock could be on the verge of winning another AL Pitcher of the Month Award for July. Unfortunately, he only gets one more start before moving to the bullpen. When you have a pitcher pitching like an ‘ace’ you don’t move them to the bullpen in most cases. However, things are different with the Houston Astros this year.
The Astros are about to welcome back Collin McHugh to the starting rotation for the first time in 2017. He is slated to start Saturday’s game versus the Orioles. Joe Musgrove is expected to be moved to the bullpen temporarily until Dallas Keuchel is to return. Should Musgrove pitch well out of the pen, things could change.
The return of McHugh.
When McHugh returns, it is likely that Reymin Guduan goes back to Triple-A. When Keuchel or Will Harris is ready to return, the Astros will choose between Musgrove or Francis Martes staying in the bullpen. Either way, A.J. Hinch specifically mentioned in his post game presser that Keuchel, McCullers, and Morton would be in the rotation.
After almost being demoted to the bullpen, Mike Fiers has turned his season around, earning a spot in the rotation. While it is unknown what McHugh will be able to offer, he will get the opportunity to win a spot in the rotation. Who stays in the rotation depends on who A.J. Hinch thinks is best.
You can argue until you are blue in the face that Peacock should stay in the rotation. That is not the wrong thought process. He has performed so well. Peacock finally became the starting pitcher that the Astros thought he was. Unfortunately, Peacock has also become a truly dominant force out of the bullpen.
The Astros bullpen was dominant in April because of what Peacock and Chris Devenski were able to do. They were able to bridge the innings between the starters and the bullpen. While Peacock is pitching well in the rotation, no one can do what he can in the bullpen.
Competition is not bad.
This is why he most likely will make one more start, before being replaced by Keuchel. Should McHugh not be effective upon his return, you could see Peacock jump back into the rotation. Ironically, it was Keuchel going on the DL to open the spot for Peacock.
As Hinch said, “Competition is a good thing…Brad Peacock has made himself a weapon.” Even if he is put in the bullpen, he will probably start a few more games at some point. Things could always change, but they will give McHugh a chance first to show what he can do.
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Another wrinkle to consider, what if the Astros trade for Sonny Gray or Justin Verlander? This is a good problem to have, too many starters. Especially with Harris out, the Astros need Peacock in the bullpen. We have and will continue to discuss this on Talking Stros every Sunday on SportsTalk 790 after the 10th Inning Show.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***