Peacock 'pretty amped up' in first career start

May 13th, 2021

D-backs rookie right-hander learned on Tuesday night that there was a chance he'd be called upon to spot start in place of Zac Gallen, who was placed on the 10-day injured list with a right elbow strain hours before his scheduled start against the Marlins on Wednesday night.

Making his first Major League start under these circumstances, Peacock found himself bitten by the long ball, falling behind the Marlins early. The D-backs, who erupted for 11 runs the night before, had no answer for another rookie making his debut in Miami's Cody Poteet, losing 3-2 in the third game of the four-game series.

“First start in the big leagues, I was pretty amped up,” Peacock said. “I get a little excited, try to throw too hard, try to beat people with velo when I know my bread and butter is low 90s, keeping the ball down, beating it in the ground, so that first inning I was a little amped up.”

In the first inning, Peacock surrendered a two-run home run to Jesús Aguilar on a high inside sinker that the right-hander thought almost hit Aguilar. The next inning, Sandy León powered a middle-middle sinker for a solo home run, plating the Marlins’ final run of the evening.

“I was a little up those first two innings and then found myself getting back to my roots and keeping the ball down and getting ground balls,” Peacock added. 

Despite having gone no longer than three innings in relief this season, Peacock bore down, keeping the Marlins off the basepaths and forcing 11 ground balls across his five innings pitched before handing it over to the bullpen.

“Given the set of circumstances that we were dealing with today, I felt like Matt did a tremendous job of giving us five quality innings in a spot start notice,” manager Torey Lovullo said. “We continue to turn it over to the bullpen and they did a good job of keeping this game at three runs, and typically when we give up three runs, with our offense that usually means a win. But we got clipped tonight.”

Whereas the Marlins capitalized on the rookie’s mistakes, the D-backs were unable to get anything going against Poteet, who at one point retired 10 batters in a row, before surrendering a pinch-hit solo home run in the fifth inning to Andrew Young, recalled earlier in the day from Triple-A Reno to replace the injured Christian Walker.

All four of Young’s hits in ‘21 have been for home runs.

David Peralta, collecting his 800th career hit as a D-back, plated Arizona’s only other run when he doubled home Josh Rojas in the first inning.

“We had a pretty good scouting report coming in, first big league start, obviously, he's pitching with a lot of emotion and I think the emotion was on his side tonight,” Rojas said of facing Poteet. “I think we put together a couple good at-bats, we just couldn't put them together and didn't get enough runs off them to win the game tonight.”

Miami's bullpen, which took over for Poteet after five innings, held Arizona in check, nullifying late rallies in the eighth and ninth innings. 

“We had some opportunities late to do some damage, we just couldn't get that big hit at the right time to either tie the runs or go ahead,” Lovullo added. “All the way until the final out, I felt like we were creating some opportunities.”

A lineup without Walker and a rotation without Gallen are both situations that the D-backs will have to adjust to in the days ahead, but Lovullo is confident that his club will be able to come out ahead.

“I think our guys are so resilient,” Lovullo said. “And in baseball, you walk through these types of things all the time and nothing totally shocks you. 

“As hard as it was to work through the Zac Gallen situation today, I think these players knew at 6:40 they had to strike it from their memory and go out and perform. I just think baseball tutors you that way or mentors you or prepares you to be that way, because you can always expect the unexpected in this game.”