Peters handles Wild Card-leading A’s 

September 25th, 2019

ANAHEIM -- Despite a recent rough patch, it’s been a mostly encouraging season for left-hander in his first year with the Angels -- and he was solid in his penultimate start of the season against the A’s in the series opener on Tuesday.

Peters went five innings, giving up two runs on five hits with three strikeouts in a 3-2 win at Angel Stadium to improve to 4-3 with a 4.72 ERA in 16 outings this season. It helped him bounce back from a tough stretch that saw him post a 7.94 ERA over his last three starts, and a 6.84 ERA over his last six. It led to praise from manager Brad Ausmus, who likes what he’s seen from the 27-year-old this season.

“He’s opened eyes, for sure,” Ausmus said. "We think he has the ability to pitch up here. He’s shown that. I think going into the offseason, he’s a guy you consider in the mix.”

Peters was pleased to hear Ausmus’ comments, but was quick to point out that he can continue to get better. He’s worked hard this season to create a more consistent arm slot for his fastball and curveball, as his main plan of attack has been high four-seamers to go along with breaking balls down.

"I really enjoy going out there and competing and winning baseball games,” Peters said. “So if I opened up some eyes in return from going out there and competing every day, that's great. But there's always room for improvement and becoming a better overall player, which is obviously the end goal and helps the ballclub win."

Peters, acquired before the season in a trade with the Marlins for Minor League reliever Tyler Stevens, pitched his way out of trouble several times, as his only clean inning was the third. He was dinged in the fourth after Khris Davis crushed a first-pitch fastball on the outside part of the plate for a two-run shot. The blow came after third baseman Matt Thaiss couldn’t make a play on a slow grounder hit by Ramon Laureano with two outs.

Peters again ran into trouble in the fifth, putting two runners on with one out after surrendering back-to-back singles. But he escaped the jam by getting Matt Chapman to ground out before Matt Olson flied out to right to end the inning.

“I thought he was really good after the first inning,” Ausmus said. “He had a little trouble in the first inning in terms of pitch count. But after, [he] made the one mistake to Davis and that was it.”

Peters threw 95 pitches, getting 10 swinging strikes. His best pitch was his changeup, which coaxed seven whiffs, while he also got two with his curve and another with his four-seamer.

“We’ve been pretty good against left-handed pitching this year. Give Peters credit,” said A’s manager Bob Melvin, whose club fell to 33-13 against left-handers this season. “He threw a lot of changeups, curveballs in backwards counts, and kept us off-balance.”

Peters figures to give the Angels some depth at starting pitcher again next season, although the club will be looking for sizable upgrades in the rotation this offseason. He wasn’t expected to see much action this year, but with injuries to several starters, he’s been a mainstay in the rotation since late July.

“When you have situations like this, a team not really playing well, there will be players who get opportunities,” Ausmus said. “The ones who take advantage will continue to play.”