Thursday pitcher Yusmeiro Petit made his sixth start and 33rd appearance on the year in place of former starter Tim Lincecum who was removed from the San Francisco Giants rotation earlier this week. Lincecum is now pitching out of the bullpen.
The switch, bringing in Petit, was a smart one for the Giants. The right-hander entered Thursday’s game against the Colorado Rockies having retired the last 38 consecutive batters he faced.
— San Francisco Giants (@SFGiants) August 28, 2014
The streak was broken by the next batter as Jordan Lyles doubled to left. Charlie Blackmon singled to right scoring Lyles but Petit was able to strikeout DJ LeMahieu to end the inning. The Giants won the game by a score of 4-1.
Petit told USA TODAY reporter Jorge L. Ortiz about the reason for his recent success:
I’m not known for having an overpowering fastball, and in today’s baseball a 95 mph fastball is average. I don’t get it up there. Sometimes in (his earlier days) I would be afraid to throw my fastball, so I would throw the wrong pitch, and that’s why I failed so much. Now I only think about attacking the strike zone. If they get a hit off me, I’ll try to get a double play. I’ve developed a lot of confidence in my fastball.
Petit’s streak began back on July 22. After a poor start, he did retire the last batter he faced that day. Petit has had great success out of the bullpen and needs to get that success to translate to now officially having a spot in the starting rotation.
The Giants are five games behind the Dodgers in the N.L. West and have a slight lead over the Atlanta Braves for the second N.L. Wild Card spot. They will need strong starts from Petit from here on out if they intend to catch the Dodgers or at least hold onto that Wild Card spot.