Peavy ready, but hopes he's not needed Tuesday

Peavy ready, but hopes he's not needed Tuesday
October 7, 2013, 7:00 pm
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Over a 12-year career, Jake Peavy has had plenty of individual achievements, topped by winning the 2007 National League Cy Young Award.
But through it all, Peavy has made only two post-season starts in those dozen seasons. And now that he's nearing his third, a part of Peavy hopes it doesn't come to fruition.
The Red Sox were trying to wrap up their American League Division Series with the Tampa Bay Rays Monday night, a game away from sweeping the Rays and advancing to the American League Championship Series.
A win would mean Peavy would have to wait until Game 4 of the ALCS for his next start. A loss would allow him to pitch, but he'd prefer to wait if those are the stakes.
It led to something of a conundrum.
"Every part of me wants to compete and get out there and have a chance to play (Tuesday) night," said Peavy Monday afternoon. "I want that opportunity. But I do not want to play (Tuesday) night. I want to win (Game 3) as bad as anybody in this building. And that's what I and 24 other guys and a bunch of coaches in that room expect to happen tonight.
"Like I said, I hope it doesn't happen. I don't expect it to happen. I expect to be on a plane and be back in Boston tomorrow night by game time."
In the event that he does have a Game 4 start, Peavy will have had plenty of rest, having not pitched since the second-to-last series of the season, almost two weeks ago.
"I've tried staying as sharp as you can," he said. "I really took that simulated game as serious as I could take and felt I got some good work in. I treated that as much like a game as I possibly could. You can throw all the bullpens in the world, you can play catch and do those types of things, but you have to simulate getting out there and going full speed."
Teammate John Lackey experienced a similar layoff prior to going in Game 2 Saturday at Fenway and notice the layoff affect "your feel and command a little bit. But at the end of the day, it will be no excuse. I'll just go out there and figure a way to get it done just as John did."
When he was with San Diego earlier in his career, Peavy was the natural Game 1 starter for the Padres. Here in Boston, the pitching depth is such that he's fourth in the rotation.
"He's a proven winner," said manager John Farrell, "and a guy with post-season experience. We know that our four starters had post-season experience from their past which they could draw from. (Jake) is an accountable guy, whether he performs well or doesn't, he stands up and he's there to answer the questions."
Peavy said starting Game 4 won't be much different from opening a series. Now that he's been through the post-season a couple of times, he knows how to prepare.
"Experience means way more than I ever thought it did," said Peavy. "You say you need experience. You say you want experience. Until you have experience and understand what experience is. I don't think you can talk about it and appreciate it until you're able to see it firsthand for yourself. And I wish I could go back and know what I know now, be a little bit more under control in between the ears and on the mental side of things than I was then."
As he waits, Peavy has had an opportunity to watch how his fellow starters attack the Rays lineup, taking notes along the way.
"They really do a nice job of putting the ball in play," said Peavy, "and making the most of the situations, the opportunities they have. They just have a good mentality as a team. They grind it out and they just are never out of it. They play good, hard baseball, hard-nosed baseball.
"As a lineup, they're dangerous. It seems like a different guy steps up every game you watch them . . . They know what I'll be trying to do and I'll know what're trying to do. These games, it just comes down to executing and throwing the ball where it's supposed to be thrown."