Peavy relishes the battle in Opening Day start

Peavy relishes the battle in Opening Day start
April 4, 2014, 8:15 pm
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Jake Peavy allowed two earned runs over six innings in his first regular season start.

(AP Photo)

BOSTON -- Jake Peavy has been in the big leagues long enough to know that for all the work put in during spring training, there is no way to prepare for the emotion that inevitably accompanies his first regular-season start.

"In spring training you cannot duplicate how you go in the regular season," said Peavy, now in his 13th season. "I don't care how excited you get. It's an extra gear."

Peavy found that adrenaline-fueled extra gear when he made the start on Opening Day at Fenway Park against the Brewers, but it wasn't without some grinding. In six innings, he gave up two runs and six hits to come away with a no-decision in Boston's 6-2 loss Friday.

"I felt alright," Peavy said. "Felt good. My feel just wasn't what it even was in spring training. A little different. But we grinded, grinded it out the best we could and gave us a chance.

"Any time you have a chance to win when you don't have your best stuff or feel the best or have the best feel, you're OK with it, but you expect more. At the end of the day you want to pitch deeper into ballgames, you want to give up less than two runs, that's just all it is."

After a dominant first inning in which Peavy allowed a triple to Milwaukee shortstop Jean Segura, but struck out the side, the second inning got away from him.

Catcher Jonathan Lucroy belted a solo shot to left to lead off the inning. A double by Khris Davis, a walk issued to Lyle Overbay and a Carlos Gomez single gave the Brewers their second run.

AJ Pierzinski cut down Gomez trying to steal second to end the inning, but the Red Sox were in an early hole after Peavy's erratic start.

"I was a tick off today with my mechanics and wasn't able to throw the ball the way I wanted to for the most part," Peavy said. "It was good to get that first one out of the way."

For Peavy, the first regular-season start of the season presents him with some situations he doesn't necessarily consider during the spring.

Whereas spring training is a time to tinker with pitch grips, mechanics and -- theoretically -- game situations, those game situations feel much different to Peavy when the games actually count in the standings.

"It's fun to do," Peavy said of working out of jams as he did in the fourth inning when he allowed a leadoff double to Lucroy.

"In spring training you're working on stuff. And even when you're in a jam, you're not in it because it doesn't matter . . . It feels good to make pitches when you need to even when you don't have your best stuff, to be able to make some pitches and get some guys out."

Peavy is far removed from 2007 when he won a Cy Young Award with the Padres, but the Red Sox like him in their rotation because he keeps games "under control," as manager John Farrell said Friday morning.

He did that against the Brewers on Friday afternoon. It just wasn't enough on its own to beat them.