Saturday, October 28, 2017

Notes, quotes and comment (Game Three edition)

Brad Peacock had a quietly impressive season this year: 13-2, 3.00 in 132 innings, with 161 strikeouts.

And no saves, until Friday night. A.J. Hinch used him to get the final 11 outs, 53 pitches. It;s the second time in this postseason that Hinch has detoured around the back end of his bullpen with a lengthy save from a nominal part of the starting rotation.

The first, of course, was with Lance McCullers Jr. in relief of Charlie Morton in Game Seven of the ALCS. McCullers started Friday, threw 87 pitches and will presumably get the ball to start Game Seven should this series go that far. Morton starts tonight.

Peacock's outing was what I think of as "the moral equivalent of a start." Hinch can't, or at least shouldn't, use him tonight or probably even Game Five on Sunday. Tuesday, behind Justin Verlander, maybe. But even better is the possibility of a McCullers-Peacock tag team again in Game Seven.

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Houston has an unusual set of pitching stats for a team that won 101 games in the regular season. Nobody threw more than 153 innings for Houston, and that pitcher, Mike Fiers, hasn't pitched since Sept. 13, when he was lit up for eight runs in 3.2 innings, which pushed his ERA well above 5.

The only guy on the team who qualified for the ERA title is Verlander, and he was only with the Astros in September. Nobody made 30 starts for the Astros (Fiers had the most starts, 28).

It wasn't an ineffective pitching staff, but the work was certainly spread around more than is usual on a quality team. Part of that was injuries, to be sure -- Dallas Kuechel was limited to 23 starts, and McCullers missed all of August. And part of it was the steady reduction of pitcher workloads, particularly starting pitcher workloads, in the analytic era.

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I mentioned in the Friday post that there were a lot of "name" pitching coaches available this month. The Twins' hire, Gavin Alston, isn't a name. But a lot of the names have landed elsewhere.

Carl Willis, the "Big Train" of the 1991 Twins bullpen, went from the Red Sox back to the Cleveland Indians, where he was pitching coach more than a decade ago. That job opened because Mickey Callaway was hired by the Mets to be their manager, and Willis was available because the Red Sox told its coaches they were free to look after John Farrell was fired as manager.

As surmised here (and elsewhere), Jim Hickey, long the pitching coach in Tampa Bay for Joe Maddon, rejoined Maddon with the Cubs. As was NOT surmised here (and elsewhere), the Cubs' former PC, Chris Bosio -- who was presumably dismissed to make room for Hickey -- landed with Detroit. I daresay most of us expected Rick Anderson to return as Ron Gardenhire's PC.

And Mike Maddux, older brother of Greg, has joined the St. Louis Cardinals. He was most recently with Washington, and was on the loose after the odd decision to fire Dusty Baker.




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