Red Sox manager John Farrell said it best in the post game interview after Jake Peavy‘s latest win against his former team the Chicago White Sox on Saturday night, “He’s worked deep in games, he’s thrown a lot of strikes. He’s made some big pitches in key moments when he’s needed and even when he’s got some traffic on the base paths he found a way to minimize the overall damage and that’s held true in five of the six starts he’s made for us. A very strong competitor.”
Peavy’s 2-1, 3.18 ERA doesn’t tell the whole story. Peavy has brought new energy and intensity to the pitching staff and to the team as a whole. When he misses location he shouts loudly to himself. No one is harder on Peavy than he is on himself.
He is a perfectionist who leads by example and the rest of the Sox pitching staff have caught the Peavy fever. Peavey’s latest stout outing lowered his ERA with the Red Sox from 3.31 to 3.18 and his WHIP of 0.96 in six starts since joining the Red Sox has been just what the doctor ordered for a staff that looked to be on the rocks before his arrival.
In Boston’s last 11 games their starting pitchers are 7-2 with a 2.15 ERA, an 0.87 WHIP and K/BB of 51/18 and an opponent batting average of .182. The Red Sox are 8-3 during this span. Sure looks like Peavy fever to me.
The MLB network featured a piece on Peavy after Saturday’s game that highlighted his emotional intensity. Such displays usually prove to be a pitcher’s undoing but Peavy appears to have an uncanny ability to channel his energy and emotion into a winning formula. That’s exactly what happened Saturday night en route to a seven complete inning, five hit 7-2 win against the ChiSox.
Peavy’s outing — which he was only moderately pleased with overall, saying he didn’t have great stuff and didn’t get ahead as much as he would’ve liked — was the 11th in a row in which the Red Sox starter allowed three or fewer earned runs. The team hasn’t done that in 12 straight games since 1915 (source and quoted text from mlb.com’s Tim Healey).
If Clay Buchholz can return to the rotation and to form before the playoffs if Boston holds on and either wins the division or snags a wild card berth, their pitching rotation will be in a strong position directly attributable to Peavy’s actions and leadership.
In every season where magic happens something or somebody takes hold of a team that enables them to take it to another level. Peavey could just be Boston’s special sauce.