WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Brad Peacock gave up two runs in four innings against the Phillies in Clearwater on Saturday.
He struck out five batters and threw 48 of his 68 pitches for strikes. He also allowed a mammoth home run to Philadelphia’s star catcher, J.T. Realmuto.
“It’s been a while since I’ve thrown four innings,” Peacock said.
The last time Peacock pitched that much in a game was in his final start of the 2017 season.
“Felt really good out there,” he said.
It was a solid enough outing without anything that will jeopardize his strong hold on the No. 5 starter spot in the rotation. The righthander has a 1.50 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 12 innings this spring.
“His curveball was the best it has been this spring, and it is important for him,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said Saturday. “He’s been working on it, so it is good to see it good in the game.”
Peacock was able to emerge as a reliable starter in 2017 and serviceable reliever in 2018 mostly because of an exceptional slider. He threw his curveball about 5 percent of the time.
He made 14 outings in the final five weeks of last season. He threw just 10 curveballs in that span, according to Brooks Baseball.
Now that he is on the brink of being named the No. 5 starter, he will have to keep hitters guessing if he wants to keep his spot in the rotation. Honing a second breaking ball will make him less predictable.
He also is working on his changeup.
“Threw a couple good ones, and a couple really bad ones,” Peacock said. “Gotta keep working on it.”
Realmuto smashed his home run on one of the worst changeups that Peacock threw Saturday.
“He did what he was supposed to with that pitch,” Peacock said. “He crushed it.”
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