Forced to try something new with their starters putting way too much pressure on their bullpen, the Astros dropped Brad Peacock from the rotation on Monday.
No replacement was immediately announced by the team, which lost four straight in Boston this weekend to drop to 7-18.
Peacock, who was part of the Jed Lowrie-Chris Carter deal with the A’s in the offseason, had a 6.01 ERA in Triple-A last year, so his struggles don’t come as much of a surprise. He was 1-3 with an 8.44 ERA in five starts this season. He gave up five runs and walked five in 3 1/3 innings Saturday in a loss to the Red Sox.
Unfortunately for the Astros, that 8.44 ERA didn’t make Peacock the only obvious choice for demotion. While Lucas Harrell and Bud Norris have both been solid in posting ERAs in the low-4.00s, Erik Bedard is at 7.98 and Philip Humber is at 7.99.
In 25 games this season, the Astros have already had three starters pulled in the first inning. Starters were removed prior to completing five innings 12 times in all. In just six of the 25 games have their starters lastedsix innings.
Current relievers Dallas Kuechel and Paul Clemens appear to be the most likely choices to replace Peacock. Travis Blackley might also be a possibility, though he’s struggled some since coming off the DL. Top prospect Jarred Cosart figures to spend a bit more time on the farm before he gets a chance. Ideally, Jordan Lyles would be ready to contribute, but he’s posted a 5.32 ERA and struck out just 11 in 23 2/3 innings for Triple-A Oklahoma City.
The Astros acquired left-hander Travis Blackley from the Athletics on Thursday in exchange for minor league outfielder Jake Goebbert, but he hurt his shoulder before he could appear in a game with his new club and will head to the disabled list as a result.
According to Zach Meisel of MLB.com, Blackley strained his shoulder during a bullpen session yesterday. It’s not known how long he’ll be sidelined, but the Astros were planning to use him as a long reliever.
The Astros have recalled left-hander Dallas Keuchel to replace Blackley on the active roster. The 25-year-old posted a 5.26 ERA and 38/39 K/BB ratio over 85 1/3 innings in 16 starts with the club last season.
The Astros just announced that they have acquired left-hander Travis Blackley from the Athletics in exchange for minor league outfielder Jake Goebbert. According to Brian McTaggart of MLB.com, he is expected to join the active roster tomorrow.
Blackley was designated for assignment by the Athletics last week. The 30-year-old Aussie owns a 5.37 ERA in the majors, but he posted a 3.86 ERA and 69/30 K/BB ratio in 102 2/3 innings over 15 starts and nine relief appearances after coming over from the Giants last season. The Astros are expected to use him as a long reliever initially, but he could be an option for the rotation before long.
Goebbert, a 25-year-old corner outfielder, owns a .285/.363/.431 batting line over four seasons in the minors. Baseball America didn’t include him among the organization’s Top 30 prospects coming into the year.
The Athletics have officially announced their roster for their series against the Tigers in the ALDS, which will begin tonight in Detroit. No big surprises in here, but Casey Pratt of CSNBayArea.com passes along word that Brett Anderson is indeed on the roster after straining his oblique during a start in Detroit on September 19.
Jarrod Parker and Tommy Milone will start the first two games of the series, but Anderson is currently lined up to start Game 3 on Tuesday in Oakland. A.J. Griffin is the probable starter for Game 4.
Anderson spent most of this year rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, so he didn’t make his season debut with the A’s until August 21. The 24-year-old southpaw had a 2.57 ERA and 25/7 K/BB ratio in 35 innings across six starts prior to the oblique injury.
The A’s have 12 pitchers and 13 position players on their roster. Athletics manager Bob Melvin has elected to carry left-handers Travis Blackley, Jerry Blevins and Pedro Figueroa in his bullpen. Blackley will function as a long-man, but Figueroa offers a second lefty for possible matchups against Prince Fielder and Alex Avila. As Aaron mentioned yesterday, right-hander Pat Neshek is active after his son died less than 24 hours after being born earlier this week.
One imagines the A’s would have been perfectly happy with the wild card a few weeks ago. Now they’re one game away from winning the AL West.
Travis Blackley allowed one run and three hits in six innings and the bullpen came through one more time Tuesday as the A’s topped the Rangers 3-1 to move into a tie for first place in the AL West. They were as many as 13 games behind Texas earlier this year.
The Rangers got their only run on a Josh Hamilton double in the third. Derek Norris came back with what was supposed to be a game-tying single in the fifth, but right fielder Nelson Cruz bobbled it, allowing Brandon Moss to score the go-ahead run. Jonny Gomes hit a solo homer in the sixth to conclude the scoring for the night.
Grant Balfour, working on a fourth straight day for the first time this year, retired Josh Hamilton, Adrian Beltre and Nelson Cruz in a perfect ninth for his 24th save of the year.
Blackley excelled tonight just five days after giving up five runs in an inning in a start versus the Rangers. The A’s have won five straight after losing that game. Tonight’s appearance may well have been the of the year for Blackley, as the team doesn’t figure to carry him as a reliever in the postseason.
Wednesday’s finale will feature Ryan Dempster and A.J. Griffin as the starters. It’ll be Dempster’s first start against the A’s as a member of the Rangers. He’s 7-3 with a 4.64 ERA in 11 starts since coming over from the Cubs. Griffin is 7-1 with a 2.71 ERA in 14 starts for Oakland. He pitched six scoreless innings in his one outing versus Texas this year.