Astros benefiting from Peacock's versatility

Righty tied for team lead with 9 wins while shuttling between bullpen and rotation

July 29th, 2017

DETROIT -- When asked whether he preferred to be a starter or reliever, Brad Peacock held an expression that suggested he'd been asked such a thing one or a few times.

With 11 starts and 13 relief appearances this season, combined for a 9-1 record and 2.62 ERA, Peacock has been so strong in his various pitching roles that he appears capable of pitching at any time. He sees it that way, too.

"I'm just glad to be here, man," he said. "I really don't care. Whatever the team needs me to do, I'll do."

To start the season, the team needed Peacock to bolster the back end of the bullpen in non-save situations. Then, when the rotation, already lacking one starter in , was rocked by a injury in June, Houston needed the right-handed Peacock to be a starter.

He served well in both capacities, first garnering a 2-0 record and 1.10 ERA in the bullpen, then a 6-1 record and 2.93 ERA in the rotation. When Keuchel returned in Friday's 6-5 win over the Tigers to start for the first time since June 2, Peacock was back where he began the season.

"I met with [Peacock] and let him know that we haven't given up the notion that he might start," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said before Friday's game. "He's not the long man, and he's not entirely out of the rotation, it's just how we're approaching trying to win this series against the Tigers."

Keuchel lasted just three innings before Hinch brought in Peacock, who completed four innings and gave up two runs to secure his ninth win, tied with Keuchel for most on the team.

"Tip your cap to what Peacock came and did for us out of the bullpen as well," outfielder said. "I don't think anybody expected Dallas to get out of there after three innings. I know I didn't."

With Keuchel and McHugh both recently back in the rotation, the Astros have their regular five-starter group for the first time this year. The arrangement -- which also includes , Charlie Morton and Mike Fiers -- currently has Peacock looking in from the outside.

"When you have a pitcher like Peacock in the bullpen, it kind of speaks volumes to where we're at and what we have," Keuchel said. "He should be a No. 2 or No. 3 starter on any other team. He's honestly done the best out of anybody, pitching-wise, the last couple months. For him to come out of the bullpen, it's just another blanket for us, and he did a tremendous job."

Worth noting

• Hinch said third baseman , who fouled a pitch off his left cheek and eye last Friday, is back in Houston and looking at different options for facial surgery.

"I'm not sure exactly what the timeline is," Hinch said. "I think he's getting some different opinions from different doctors in our network in Houston. But he's safely arrived back in Houston, and we should know more when we arrive back for the homestand [which begins Monday]."

• Morton and Fiers are set as the respective starters on Monday and Tuesday against the Rays, Hinch said, but a decision still remains whether Keuchel will start Wednesday on regular rest or if another starter will take his place. Asked if Peacock could make that Wednesday start, Hinch said, "We'll see."