As Jay Jaffe noted earlier this week, the Astros are the most dominant offensive team in baseball this season, and one of the best offenses in modern baseball history. Even if a player like Jose Altuve or Carlos Correa struggles in the ALDS, the lineup features a host of reinforcements—George Springer, Josh Reddick, Yuli Gurriel and Alex Bregman just to name a few—to sustain any prolonged slumps within the lineup. With the addition of Justin Verlander at the August 31st trading deadline, the front end of the starting pitching staff is less of a concern than it was before the season's final month.
But how about the back end of that rotation? Lance McCullers has been completely ineffective since July 6 (he hasn't thrown more than 5 1/3 innings in any start and has an ERA of 8.53 over seven starts) and while Collin McHugh has been strong since starting his season in late July (a 3.55 ERA over 12 starts), he may lack the power needed to sustain a playoff start against a balanced Boston offense.
That's why manager A.J. Hinch may look to Brad Peacock to start Game 3 of the ALDS. Peacock enters the playoffs with a 2.29 ERA over his last seven starts and an opponent batting average of .184. He also boasts an astonishing 11.0 K/9 ratio and has been the breakout star of the Houston rotation in the second half of the season. He lacks any significant playoff pedigree, but he's the hottest starter they have not named Verlander. Hinch may use Peacock as a wipeout middle-innings reliever in the mold of Andrew Miller or now David Price, but he may be the best option to quiet the Red Sox offense.