The Jake Peavy dossier is a strange one. This is a guy who once won a Cy Young Award, yet who for most of a season could barely win a game. He was shipped out of Boston for his own good because it seemed every pitch he threw at Fenway Park led to the additional impression that he was jinxed.
Bad luck for Peavy
Peavy’s pitching record for the first half-plus of the 2014 season defied credulity. He was the world’s unluckiest pitcher and for a pitcher who had been a three-time All-Star he was by far the universe’s most unlucky good pitcher.
By the time the Red Sox ushered Peavy out of town he had compiled a 1-9 record. That was a cringe-worthy mark and even if his earned run average was an unsightly 4.72 he really wasn’t that bad. Peavy got caught up in the sagging Boston fortunes the year after the club won the World Series.
The Red Sox officially gave up on 2014 before the July 31 trading deadline and one of the first of many players they cut ties with in this disastrous campaign was Peavy. He was acquired last season to buttress a starting rotation that was moving towards an American League pennant and a Series appearance.
This season Peavy was a regular on the mound when the underachieving Boston thumpers took vacations. The Red Sox started poorly, dropped into last place in the American League East, and Peavy became one of the first scapegoats.
Peavy won his Cy Young in 2002, when he finished 19-6. A native of Mobile, Alabama, the 6-foot-1, 195-pound right-handed thrower made good with the San Diego Padres, the team that originally drafted him. When he joined the Chicago White Sox in 2009 he was supposed to be the missing piece in their rotation. Initially great with a 3-0 start and a 1.35 ERA, Peavy then got injured and never lived up to the hype there.
It was the White Sox who sent Peavy to Boston in 2013 where he again did well over the remaining part of the year, going 4-1. But the worrisome health setback in Chicago, combined with the woeful first part of 2014 in Boston represent what feels like a long, drawn-out dismal slide for a guy who is just 33 and should have some good years left. The San Francisco Giants believed so, anyway, and in their own anxious desire to close the gap on the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League West Division and to make a run at an NL playoff spot, they picked up Peavy.
So far so good, or at least not nearly as bad as life has been for the poor guy in recent seasons. After a few weeks on the West Coast Peavy’s other league record was 2-3 and his ERA was down to 3.58, a very acceptable range.
Peavy may not be the key ingredient in earning the Giants a playoff berth, but thus far he has done nothing to harm those chances. He may well be in the process of resurrecting his career. If he truly starts to resemble that long-ago Cy Young winner he may accomplish both purposes simultaneously. For sure, things don’t look as grim for Peavy as they did on the East Coast.
There aren’t too many guys who would be giddy over a 2-3 start with a new team, but after all Peavy has endured, it’s practically as significant a statistic as his best pitcher stats were when he was voted that Cy Young prize so many years ago.