By the end of last season, a few Astros, including pitching coach Doug Brocail, approached Brad Peacock about something they had noticed he was doing on the mound.
Peacock was taking his time on the mound between pitches, sometimes even walking around. Brocail recommended Peacock cut out the extra movement as much as possible.
"It feels better," Peacock said. "This year, I'm just getting it and going."
While Peacock's 1-4 record and 4.76 ERA are nothing to boast about, his results have been better of late. In his last two starts, Peacock is 1-0 with a 2.13 ERA and 13 strikeouts in 12 2/3 innings.
"It just doesn't give me time to think about who's in the box or what to do next," Peacock said. "It just kind of makes me feel like, 'Get the ball, go and attack.'"
He'll have to put the new strategy to work Thursday night against Los Angeles at Minute Maid Park. Pitching for the Angels is Tyler Skaggs, who has given up just one earned run in 15 innings against the Astros this season.
Skaggs will be hoping for redemption, of sorts, as his last inning in his previous outing against the A's ended in a shellacking. After giving up just one run in his first six innings, he allowed three additional runs in the seventh inning in an 11-3 loss. Los Angeles was leading before the seventh began.
"It's frustrating," Skaggs said. "It was a hard-fought game from our team, and by their team, and it's just frustrating."
The Angels snapped a four-game losing streak with their 4-0 win against the Astros on Wednesday night.
Angels: Scioscia wants to keep giving Ibanez chances
Angels designated hitter Raul Ibanez batted seventh on Wednesday, the lowest in the order he's hit against an opposing right-hander this season -- but he was in the lineup nonetheless.
The 42-year-old left-handed hitter entered Wednesday's game with a .144/.255/.266 slash line, and has a couple of hot-hitting young players -- Grant Green and C.J. Cron -- competing with him for playing time. Angels manager Mike Scioscia wants to keep giving Ibanez opportunities, but it'll probably come lower in the lineup until he gets going.
"The talent is still there," Scioscia said. "He just hasn't found the timing, so you want to keep giving him those opportunities."
Astros: Slow down, Springer
Houston right fielder George Springer, who switched positions from center fielder at the beginning of the season when the Astros signed Dexter Fowler, struggled a bit in the field early in the year.
Springer's six errors, according to manager Bo Porter, were a result of him simply playing too fast. Recently, however, Springer has slowed down, allowing for improved play in the field.
"When he first arrived, he was running 100 miles an hour," Porter said. "The biggest adjustment he's made is slowing the game down, and we're now starting to see his natural ability as it relates to defense."
Mike Vernon is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.