Getting suckered in by Jake Peavy has become a South side past time in the past three years, and part of me wonders whether Ozzie only left so he could start up a 'Getting Suckered in by Jake Peavy' regional office in Miami.
After dominating the Orioles Wednesday night to the tune of 7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 8 K, 0 BB as part of an 8-1 win, Jake had these words of ebullient relief to share.
“I feel so blessed," said Peavy, emphasizing the word 'blessed.' "I sent a text message out and that’s the word I used. I said I’m so blessed to be happy. I know it’s been a long grind with you guys and the fans and everybody to get me to this point, but I am healthy and I don’t know what I can or can’t be after what I’ve gone through. But I can promise you my effort and preparation is going to be there."
In case you missed it, Jake had his lat muscle ripped off the bone of his throwing shoulder like a band-aid 21 months ago, and it was a bit of a to-do coming back from all that. Every time he goes into one of these digressions, it comes across as genuine emotion from a guy who worked his butt off to return to the field. Like when he said it last year.
"I don't know what to expect coming off this surgery and I don't know how good I can be and if I can get back, but that's a lot of what I used to do tonight, but I'm just going to grind it out," Peavy said. "I can tell you this, every fifth day I take the ball, or six-seven (days) with this rotation, I expect to win and that's the bottom line."
"I got traded to be the guy you saw tonight and I am going to do everything I can do in the next two years to be that guy," Peavy said. "I told you guys this is the healthiest I have been in Chicago."
‘‘It means the world to me me,’’ Peavy said. ‘‘I feel so blessed for the opportunity after you struggle to come back."
In case you missed, things got a little rough after that.
Now, having dumped the mandatory 60 gallons of ice water on a Peavy performance, there's a lot to like. Peavy's striking out over a batter an inning with inscrutable control through 19.2 IP so far this season. The endurance issues that cropped up around the 80 pitch-mark his first two starts were absent Wednesday, as he cruised through 7 innings and over the century mark in pitches, while displaying a repetition in his method.
Once again, Peavy sat comfortably in the 90-93 mph range with his fastball--not his old self, but far from enfeebled--and countered any inabilities to overpower hitters with the kitchen sink approach he utilized against Detroit. Brooks Baseball Pitch FX credited him with using a 6-pitch melange of fastball, two-seam fastball, cut fastball, slider, curveball, change; all of them pounding the zone, most of them getting swings-and-misses. Going against Baltimore surely helped a bit, but after facing down Detroit and Texas and not blinking an eye, Jake was owed a respite.
|Pitch Type||Avg Speed||Max Speed||Avg H-Break||Avg V-Break||Count||Strikes / %||Swinging Strikes / %||Linear Weights||Time to Plate|
|FF (FourSeam Fastball)||91.39||93.3||-4.84||7.94||42||29 / 69.05%||3 / 7.14%||1.8069||0.413|
|CH (Changeup)||83.87||85.2||-6.72||2.43||12||7 / 58.33%||5 / 41.67%||-1.8896||0.447|
|SL (Slider)||82.30||84.8||3.56||0.98||11||6 / 54.55%||2 / 18.18%||-0.4484||0.455|
|CU (Curveball)||80.74||83.6||3.35||-3.43||15||10 / 66.67%||2 / 13.33%||-0.9094||0.466|
|FC (Cutter)||87.55||92.7||0.70||3.37||15||10 / 66.67%||0 / 0.00%||-1.1020||0.427|
|FT (TwoSeam Fastball)||91.97||93||-9.00||5.56||13||10 / 76.92%||0 / 0.00%||-0.4454||0.413|
|Pitch classifications provided by the Gameday Algorithm and may be inaccurate.|
If there's a concern, it's that Peavy has been super flyball-oriented to start things off. Not only will that not play in U.S. Cellular in warmer months, but it's not conducive to generating easy outs efficiently and reliably on nights where his stuff is more limited, and when further scouting on what the new, "healthy" Jake Peavy looks like.
So far, the healthy Peavy looks like the linchpin of a rotation that's staved off feeling the burn of Buehrle's absence just yet. As it so happens, half of the Sox wins have come in Peavy starts. Team results don't necessarily have anything to do with pitching performance (go tell Cliff Lee what more he could have done to help Phildelphia win Wednesday), but in this case it wouldn't have been possible without Peavy's work, which already constitutes his longest streak of quality starts since his lat tear. There's still no clear concept of what a successfully recovered Jake Peavy looks like, but this is the closest it's ever been.