Dillon Peters goes six strong in loss to Red Sox


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BOSTON — With the Angels desperate for some stability in their rotation, left-hander Dillon Peters has been a pleasant surprise so far.
Peters was solid against the Red Sox in the series opener on Thursday, turning in a quality start with eight strikeouts over six innings, but it resulted in

BOSTON — With the Angels desperate for some stability in their rotation, left-hander Dillon Peters has been a pleasant surprise so far.

Peters was solid against the Red Sox in the series opener on Thursday, turning in a quality start with eight strikeouts over six innings, but it resulted in yet another loss for the Angels, who fell for the seventh straight time, dropping a 3-0 decision at Fenway Park.

The 26-year-old allowed three runs on five hits, including two homers that proved to be the difference. It was still another encouraging outing from Peters, who has posted a 3.45 ERA in 31 1/3 innings this year but was outpitched by Chris Sale in the loss.

Box score

“He gave up those two home runs, but I thought Peters pitched really well,” Angels manager Brad Ausmus said. “He got a lot of swings and misses. He used his curveball. He threw strikes, which at times has been a little bit of a problem, against a very good offensive club.”

Peters has been making the most of his recent run in the rotation, posting a 3.18 ERA over his last four outings dating back to July 21. He’s also coming off the longest pitching performance by an Angels pitcher this season, having gone 7 2/3 innings against the Indians on Friday.

Peters, acquired in an offseason trade with the Marlins for Minor Leaguer Tyler Stevens, had a clean first inning with two strikeouts, but he gave up a hit to J.D. Martinez on a 3-2 fastball to open the second. He went right after Sam Travis with a first-pitch four-seamer, but it was over the heart of the plate and Travis deposited it to center field for a two-run homer to give the Red Sox an early lead.

“It was an 0-0 fastball and he ambushed it,” Peters said. “Don’t get me wrong, it was middle-middle. But it was a first-pitch fastball to get ahead and stay on the attack. He was fortunate enough to catch the barrel.”

Peters shook it off until running into more trouble in the fourth, though he was helped by an incredible leaping grab from right fielder Kole Calhoun to open the inning. Xander Bogaerts hit a slicing liner to right, but Calhoun made a full-extension diving catch to rob Bogaerts of extra bases. Calhoun needed to cover 70 feet in 4.1 seconds, giving it a 35 percent catch probability as a four-star catch, per Statcast.

The diving play turned out to be important, as Martinez followed with a single on a 2-0 changeup before Andrew Benintendi doubled off the Green Monster on a first-pitch fastball. Peters, though, escaped the jam by getting Michael Chavis to pop out to second.

“We were pounding [Chavis] with fastballs up,” Peters said. “I got to 3-2 and popped him up on the infield, which was a bit of damage control executing the pitch right.”

In the fifth, Peters threw a 1-1 fastball up above the zone to Sandy Leon, who was still able to drive it to left for a solo homer to open the inning. Peters bounced back after that, retiring the final six batters he faced to finish his night with 97 pitches.

“We were trying to go up and in on a 1-1 count,” Peters said. “I missed over the plate, up. It was up, but [Leon’s] swing, he has a flat bat path that keeps his hands above the ball and he caught it.”

Of those 97 pitches, Peters threw just 48 fastballs, as his curveball was his most effective pitch, especially when paired with his four-seamer up in the zone. Peters registered 13 swings and misses on the night, including six with his four-seamer, three with his curve, three with his change and one with his two-seamer. Four of the five hits he allowed came on the four-seamer, while none came on the curve.

“The high fastball was working and the curveball played off it,” Peters said. “Really, [catcher Max] Stassi deserves the credit.”

Peters has yet to allow more than three earned runs in any of his eight outings this year, although he did give up five runs (two earned) against the Orioles on July 27. But he’s been giving his team a chance, and that is all the scuffling Angels can ask for right now.

“He’s pitched pretty well other than one start,” Ausmus said. “Going back to Spring Training, we liked the makeup and the mound presence. He’s backed up those feelings we have for him with performance.”

Rhett Bollinger covers the Angels for MLB.com. He previously covered the Twins from 2011-18. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.



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