Tag:Jake Peavy
Posted on: April 7, 2008 1:53 pm
 

Fenway, Cueto & One Shining Moment -- what a week

What you'll be talking about this week: Is Detroit ever going to, maybe, win a game? The only winless team in the majors at 0-6, maybe you think that's a joke. But check out this next stretch of the Tigers' schedule: At Boston for three beginning on Tuesday, at the White Sox this weekend (and Chicago, coming off of a sweep in Detroit, is playing really well), then home for two against Minnesota (ah, perhaps a breather?) then at Cleveland for two and Toronto for three.

The Tigers rank dead last in the American League -- and 28th in the majors -- in runs scored. Read all about it over in the Weekend Buzz.

What you'll also talk about: Guess what? Boston is heading home for its Fenway Park opener on Tuesday. No small statement, either -- the Red Sox have flown more than 15,000 air miles since leaving Florida what seems like two months ago to travel to Japan, California, Toronto and, finally, home again. It's been a 19-day odyssey that has covered three countries and winds up with Boston in last place in the AL East for the first time since April 10, 2005.

Granted, the Red Sox are only two games out, but still. Going into this season, it was clear that survival would be the key to the stretch the Red Sox have just finished. Last place isn't great, but it's early and a two-game deficit is nothing. But, and this is a big but: Will the past three weeks leave the Red Sox gassed for the foreseeable future, or will they recover pretty quickly once they get home? A hangover effect could open the door for Toronto -- whose pitching was terrific in the first week -- among others to establish itself early.

Most pressing thing for Boston right now is to straighten out shortstop Julio Lugo. He committed three errors in Sunday's loss to Toronto after committing another on Saturday. His throwing is nearly as out of whack as Tuesday's Fenway Park opponent, Detroit. The Red Sox get their 2007 World Series rings in a pre-game ceremony Tuesday.

Perhaps this conversation is better skipped: In the throes of a terrible start, the Giants return home for their opener Monday afternoon against San Diego. They arrive reeling with a 1-5 record. Only Colorado (10) has scored fewer than the Giants' 12 runs.

Oh, and when they get home, the Giants will see a de-Bonds-itized AT&T Park. The Giants have scrubbed nearly every reference to the Big Man. But they sure were happy to take your money the past several years through tickets, T-shirts, jerseys, caps, and anything else that could earn them a buck.

What you can't help but talk about: That speculation regarding the brown stuff on San Diego ace Jake Peavy's right hand in the immediate aftermath of Saturday's dominating performance over Los Angeles? Dirt mixed with resin and sweat? Pine tar? Faulty M&Ms that melted in his hand, not his mouth?

Well, tune in for the sequel on Friday night in Dodger Stadium, where Peavy will have a re-match with Los Angeles ace Brad Penny. Gee, what kind of reception to you think he'll get there?

What you should be talking about: Cincinnati at Milwaukee on Tuesday night. Why? Reds rookie Johnny Cueto, who was filthy on Thursday, gets his second start of the season against a very good Brewers' lineup. Cueto's fastball was sizzling in the mid-90s, his slider embarrassing Arizona hitters at 89 m.p.h. or so and from what we saw in one brief outing, this kid is a no-hitter waiting to happen.

What you really should talk about: Pittsburgh outfielder Nate McLouth hit .429 during the season's first week and banged out a base hit in his first at-bat against the Cubs on Monday morning in Pittsburgh. This guy is sizzling and giving the Pirates some hope. Let's watch how the Cubs and Cincinnati pitch him this week.

Likes: All of these day games this early in the season. Nice to have baseball to watch at home during the day -- or anywhere during the day. ... Does anybody in the game have more guts and competitive fire than John Smoltz? Answer: No. ... Will you look at this, Cincinnati is getting some pitching. Johnny Cueto was fabulous last Thursday and Edinson Volquez, the pitcher acquired from Texas in the Josh Hamilton deal, was really good Sunday. The Reds get pitching, they stay in contention. ... Nice to have Jon Miller and Joe Morgan back every Sunday night again. ... Martin Scorcese's look at the Rolling Stones in Shine a Light is terrific. Scorcese or no, there's no groundbreaking stuff on the Stones, so if you're looking for that, change your expectations. But if you like the Stones, it's a very well-done concert film/documentary in which several lesser-known tunes are featured. The blues number with Buddy Guy is great, and Mick Jagger's duet with Christina Aguilera sizzles. She's got some pipes, that girl. ...One Shining Moment -- the song, the video montage, the entire thing. The NCAA title game always makes this one of the best Monday nights of the year.

Dislikes: Aw, you hate to see Colorado open at home over this past weekend celebrating its first NL title, raising the championship banner, receiving NL champion rings ... and get swept by Arizona (Diamondbacks fans, this part doesn't apply to you!)

Rock-n-Roll lyric of the day:

"Well my friends are gone and my hair is grey
"I ache in the places where I used to play
"And I'm crazy for love but I'm not coming on
"I'm just paying my rent every day
"Oh, in the tower of song"

-- Leonard Cohen, Tower of Song

Posted on: April 6, 2008 7:53 pm
Edited on: April 6, 2008 7:54 pm
 

Dirt, accusations and Jake Peavy's hand

Video killed the radio star, the song goes ... and it may wind up curbing cheating, too. Or, even thinking of it.

Not that San Diego Cy Young winner Jake Peavy was doing anything of the sort in his brillitant, complete-game win over Los Angeles on Saturday, but somebody saw some brown stuff on his right thumb, index and middle fingers on the postgame Fox television broadcast while Peavy was shaking hands with his teammates, posted the zoomed-in photos on the Internet and, voila. Dirt smeared with resin and sweat? Pine tar? Maple syrup left over from breakfast?

The unanimous Cy Young winner found himself answering questions Sunday that probably won't disppear until after his next start.

Which, as fate would have it, is Friday in Dodger Stadium in a rematch against Brad Penny.

Peavy, manager Bud Black and the Padres say the brown stuff on Peavy's hand Saturday was dirt, plain and simple.

"I laugh, to be honest with you," Peavy said. "Anybody that wants to check me, feel free. There's nothing on my hand that's not supposed to be. I laughed. I thought it was funny."

"You play baseball, your hands get dirty," Padres manager Bud Black said, noting that Peavy often reaches for the resin bag and that the powdery substance is designed to make the hand a bit sticky (to grip the ball better) and, when mixed with sweat, said that dirt can adhere to it.

Dodgers manager Joe Torre acknowledged the possibility that it could be pine tar during his pre-game meeting with reporters Sunday but mostly downplayed the situation. Torre said that if somebody appears to be doing something illegal in a game it should be checked but said that he does not favor "undressing" an opposing pitcher -- that is, asking the umpire to go out and search the pitcher on the mound.

"They're more than welcome to," Peavy said of the prospect of the Dodgers asking the umpires to check him Friday night. "I hope they're worried about my hand. Anytime Joe wants to check me, he can."

The Peavy situation is similar to one involving Detroit's Kenny Rogers during the 2006 WOrld Series. Then, however, television cameras picked up on Rogers' dirty hand during the game and broadcasters were openly talking about it as play continued.

Peavy's dirty hand wasn't noticed until after the broadcast, by someone who apparently saw it on digital video, photographed his television and then sent the photos to a Web site.

And the photo came after the game. If Peavy's hand was dirty during the game, there's apparently no evidence.

Peavy saw the photo when someone showed it to him before the game and, during a conversation after San Diego's 3-2 loss to the Dodgers on Sunday, expressed surprise -- and skepticism where the photo was concerned -- that his hand was that stained.

"I can't imagine my hands would be that dirty," Peavy said. "But my hands aren't that clean (during a game). I pick up the resin bag, I hit. ..."

 

 

 

Category: MLB
Posted on: March 29, 2008 6:50 pm
 

Big game hunting on opening day

One of the most attractive opening day pitching matchups has Houston ace Roy Oswalt facing National League Cy Young winner Jake Peavy in San Diego on Monday night.

Well, it's one of the attractive matchups if you're not, say, a white-tailed deer.

The two pals have been pointing toward their opening day duel for months now, trash-talking their way through winter hunting trips and the joint purchase of more than 500 acres of hunting property in southwestern Illinois.

"Some of the best hunting land in the United States," Oswalt told me this spring.

Oswalt is from Weir, Mississippi; Peavy is a native of Mobile, Alabama. They live about two hours' drive-time apart.

Not only did they purchase the Illinois property over the winter, they also enjoyed a home-and-home series of hunting trips together.

Peavy and some of his friends traveled to Mississippi to hunt with Oswalt on the Houston pitcher's 3,000-acre property, and then Oswalt and some of his friends visited Peavy's hunting spread in Alabama.

Funny thing is, neither Oswalt (14-7 with a 3.18 last season) nor Peavy (19-6, 2.54) personally bagged anything on their joint hunting trips, according to the Houston pitcher. The group shot three deer on Oswalt's property and "two or three" on Peavy's property.

But that didn't stop the two buddies from carrying on with their running commentary on Monday's opener for the past several months.

"We've got a lot of bets going on," Oswalt told me, grinning, at the Astros' camp in Kissimmee, Fla., in February. "I can't say what we've got going on, but we've been talking a lot of trash on the phone."

When I saw Peavy in Peoria, Ariz., a few weeks later, last year's unanimous Cy Young winner wasn't spilling any beans regarding the side wagers, either.

"We're going to get after it on opening day," Peavy said. "And then we'll go to dinner when all is said and done."

Venison? He didn't say.


Category: MLB
Posted on: March 11, 2008 8:30 pm
 

Experimentin' and thinkin' with Cy Peavy

PEORIA, Ariz. -- National League Cy Young winner Jake Peavy was clubbed by the Los Angeles Angels in the first inning of an 8-4 Cactus League loss Tuesday, surrendering four runs and five hits.

To those in the crowd of 5,784, and in the raw box score, it no doubt appeared that Peavy was getting hammered.

Well, yes.

But this also was the textbook example of a pitcher taking time in the spring to work on a few things, which is why Peavy was very pleased afterward.

Mostly.

"I hate the fact that in spring training you get ambushed," he said.

Translation: The Angels had some young guys in their lineup who came out swinging more aggressively than usual in the first inning.

Being that Peavy's goal for the afternoon was to work on locating his fastball, it wasn't an optimal matchup for him. Because as he threw a steady stream of first-inning fastballs, Robb Quinlan, Erick Aybar, Kendry Morales, Jeff Mathis and Nathan Haynes made him pay for it.

So Peavy adjusted his strategy in the second and third innings -- and held the Angels hitless.

As he said, even though it's the spring, there comes a point when pride takes over. So after the rocky first inning, he mixed his breaking balls in, which didn't allow the Angels to sit on first-pitch fastballs, which transformed the game away from glorified batting practice. Peavy went from throwing and locating to pitching.

"There's just something in me," he said. "I just couldn't go to bed tonight without mixing in some breaking balls with those heaters to those young kids."

By the end of it, Peavy said, he "got a ton out of it." He threw 65 pitches. He threw all of his pitches. He worked some pickoff plays with Angels on the bases. And he worked on speeding up his delivery to home -- he was clocked in 1.1 seconds on a couple of occasions -- while attempting to give catcher Josh Bard a chance to throw out some would-be stealers.

Two summers ago, Peavy was as slow as 1.35 to the plate, and when he tried to speed it up, pitching coach Darren Balsley thought his arm suffered.

"I was rushing it, and my arm (slot) was down a little, and I wasn't feeling that good anyway," Peavy said of a summer in which he battled shoulder tendinitis.

Morales nailed an 0-and-2 "back foot breaking ball", Peavy said, a cutter. "That's the only time I tried to put somebody away and it didn't happen."

By the end of the outing, Peavy was smiling in the clubhouse and couldn't stop talking about what a perfect spring outing it was.

"I couldn't let some of those guys go to bed tonight thinking, 'Man, that Peavy was a little flat,'" he said.

The regular season soon will be here.

For now, this is pretty good.

Likes: San Diego manager Bud Black's sense of humor. He was downright giddy Tuesday morning before leaving for China. ... Terrific facility here in Peoria that the Padres and Mariners share. ... Mark DeRosa back playing with the Cubs. Thank goodness that heart episode was nipped in the bud. ... The Cactus League drives sure are easier than the Grapefruit League drives, with clubs more concentrated in two areas (mostly Phoenix, with three down in Tucson). ... The Italian Grotto in Old Scottsdale, a spring staple. ... The University of San Diego over Gonzaga the other night. USD's energy was impressive. ... Van Halen's Dance the Night Away on the stadium sound system.

Dislikes: Any chain restaurant/shopping outlet/fast food joint you've ever heard of or might want to visit, you can find it on Bell Rd. heading from I-17 in toward the Peoria Sports Complex. ... The wireless Internet access at the Peoria Sports Complex retricting access to any entertainment Web site.

Sunblock day? Yessir. Seventy-some degrees and sunny. A dry heat. A sunscreen with moisturizer badly needed.

Rock-n-Roll lyric of the day:

"Went home last night
"Heard a noise
"I asked my wife what was that
"Went home last night
"Heard a noise
"I asked my wife what was that
"She said, 'Man don't be so suspicious
"That ain't nothin' but a cat

-- Blind Boy Fuller, Cat Man Blues

Category: MLB
 
 
 
 
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