The Philadelphia Phillies are currently in the midst of a five-game losing streak, their longest losing streak of the 2011 season. Granted, Ryan Howard and Hunter Pence are dealing with injuries. But the Phillies likely don't want to go limping into the postseason after getting themselves within three wins of a franchise high win total with seven games left in the 2011 regular season. Tonight the Washington Nationals try to take all four games of their season-series-ending set in Citizens Bank Park.
The Nats send Brad Peacock to the hill in his second major league start. Phillies' right-hander Roy Oswalt will be taking the mound for the 325th start of his 11-year MLB career. After Peacock earned the curly W in his first start with the Nats, throwing 5.0 shutout innings against New York in which he allowed just two hits and three walks, Davey Johnson praised the 23-year-old '06 41st Round pick who'd retired 9 of the first 10 batters he'd faced, pitched his way out of trouble in the fourth inning and ended his night at 94 pitches after allowing a single and nothing else in the Mets' half of the fifth.
"I was real impressed," Johnson told reporters after the game, "He showed a lot of poise. He didn't get flustered. He kept making his pitches. The lineup had seen him and he still made good pitches, and [Ruben] Tejada, who was giving him [trouble], he threw him a couple good breaking balls and got him on a good pop-up. That was big." The pop by Tejada ended the fifth inning after Peacock had allowed a two-out single by Jose Reyes.
"Even the first game I brought him in in relief against [Matt] Kemp," Johnson continued, referring to Peacock's MLB debut, when he brought the right-hander on as a reliever with runners on against one of the best hitters in baseball, "He showed lot of [competitiveness], he made pitches, didn't seem to get flustered, and tonight, I don't think you can pitch any better than he did in the first three innings." At the time Johnson said that Peacock would likely get one more start this season, which he does tonight.
If it's the last start of 2011 for Peacock, it will cap off a strong season in which he was named the Double-A Eastern League's and the Nationals' organization's Pitcher of the Year. Peacock began the 2011 season at Double-A Harrisburg, posting a 2.01 ERA, 1.87 FIP. 23 BB (2.10 BB/9), 129 K's (11.77 K/9), a .262 BABIP and .174 BAA in 16 games, 13 starts and 98.2 IP for the Nats' Double-A affiliate. In 9 starts and 48.0 IP for Triple-A Syracuse, Peacock was (5-1) with a 3.19 ERA, 4.18 FIP, .202 BAA, .248 BABIP, 24 BB (4.50 BB/9) and 48 K's (9.00 K/9).
Has he earned consideration for the 2012 rotation? "I'm not ruling anything out," Johnson told reporters, "But there's a lot guys that are competing for that job and he's one of them." Peacock's up now for the opportunity to test himself in situations like he faced in New York and will face tonight in Philadelphia. "That's what September's all about," Davey Johnson told reporters at another point this weekend when September call-ups were discussed, "Letting them compete on the same playing field as guy's that are already established up here." Peacock vs Philadelphia in Citizens Bank Park tonight.