Peacock unfazed by four hits allowed in Nationals debut

You really had to feel for Nationals prospect Brad Peacock.

He made his major league debut in less than ideal conditions. He had to follow Stephen Strasburg. Doug Slaten allowed two hits and tallied one out in front of him.

On a cold and rainy Tuesday night, the Nationals top strikeout artist in the minors allowed four hits, one walk and no strikeouts, including a two-run single by the Dodgers Andre Ethier that tied the game at 3. In 1 1/3 innings, Peacock was charged with one earned run.

Los Angeles won the game, 7-3, but Peacock did not factor in the decision.

Peacock admitted the adrenaline was going when he first got out there, and he was a little nervous. After all, there were two men on and his first batter was the Dodgers best hitter in center fielder Matt Kemp.

“It was a pretty tough situation,” Peacock said. “I relieved in the (Arizona) Fall League so I was used to it. I wanted to get out of it, but it happens. I made some good pitches, got some ground balls. I just wanted to throw strike one and I did. I just worked off of that. I got behind some hitters.”

Peacock said he was not thinking ‘why can’t I just start a game with no one on instead of the briar patch he had to face in relief?’

“I am fine with it,” Peacock said. “I can’t wait to get out there for the next time. My nerves are gone. I am ready to go for the rest of the season.”

Nationals manager Davey Johnson said he wanted to have Peacock start the sixth inning, but the weather report made him change his mind.

“I wanted to warm him up early because I knew {Strasburg} would go five easy,” Johnson recalled. “And I would have started warming him up when {Strasburg} was out there. I didn’t want to warm him up and then the rain came. I said I will warm him with Slaten, (because) the lineup matches up for Slaten. That way I can let (Peacock) get his full warm up like a pitcher and not be rushed.

“Unfortunately, I had to bring him to face the right-hander (Kemp) and it had to be one of the best hitters in the league going for the triple crown. Actually, he made a good pitch. I thought Ian (Desmond) should have gotten in front of it and we could have been out of the inning. It was a hard hit ball.”

Even with the four hits allowed, Johnson said he was impressed with how Peacock worked his way out of the jam and continued on into the next frame before the rain delay arrived.

“I thought he handled it very well,” Johnson said. “He handled adversity. He stayed right with them. He came back out and pitched well the next inning. Then the rains came. But I was pretty pleased with it.”

You feel like Peacock deserved a much better fate.

After all, this is the same pitcher that dominated Double-A and continued his success at Triple-A. His combined numbers were 15-3 in 146 2/3 innings, with a 2.39 ERA. Peacock struck out 177 hitters, yielded 47 walks, held opponents to .188 batting average with just 39 earned runs in 23 starts (25 games).

Nationals pitching coach Steve McCatty agreed with Johnson.

“I thought Brad threw the ball well,” McCatty said. “He came into a tough situation. The ball was getting out of his hand well. He threw some good change ups and some good breaking balls. First time I have seen him since Potomac last year. He has made a lot of improvements.”

Peacock gave up a few runs and walked a few batters in his first game at Syracuse. Then he reeled off five wins. With the way he can hit his spots with velocity, you would expect him to settle in nicely after five days rest. Sunday, you should see him get that second shot against the Astros.

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