Jake Peavy emotional, resilient, effective in Red Sox debut

Scott McLaughlin
August 03, 2013 - 8:00 pm

When Jake Peavy was introduced to the Boston media on Thursday, he said that no one would expect more from him than he expects from himself. Throughout his Red Sox debut on Saturday, it was easy to see the truth in that statement. Whenever Peavy missed his spot or let a batter off the hook -- which wasn't often -- he could be seen yelling at himself on the mound. While that caught everyone's eye, the true sign of his competitiveness was how he responded to those mistakes. After Peavy walked Martin Prado on a full count in the second, he retired the next two batters to end the inning. A leadoff single by Wil Nieves in the third was followed by three straight outs. Same story in the fourth after Paul Goldschmidt's leadoff home run. "It's a breath of fresh air," manager John Farrell said of Peavy's emotion. "It's just raw competitive spirit. It's new to us, much like Koji [Uehara] was at the beginning of the year. Guys take note of it, and they appreciate just his 100-percent competitive spirit. It's great." When all was said and done, Peavy hadn't allowed more than one baserunner in any of his seven innings Saturday night. He departed after facing one batter in the eighth, and was greeted with a standing ovation from the sellout crowd on his walk back to the dugout -- a moment Peavy said he'll never forget. "Truly, from the bottom of my heart, it's something I'll never forget," Peavy said. "To be welcomed that way, for them to show their appreciation, I hope every last person knows that from the bottom of my heart. My family was here tonight, and it was something special." Peavy said that even though he's made nearly 300 major-league starts, this one almost felt like a first because of how he excited he was. He even acknowledged there were some pregame nerves. Perhaps because of that, Peavy had some trouble hitting his marks in the first two innings. He didn't give up any hits or runs in those two innings, but he did walk two batters and was throwing nearly 50 percent of his pitches for balls. Peavy settled down after that, though. He didn't walk another batter, and he scattered four hits over the next five-plus innings. He struck out seven in the game and finished with a strike rate of 66 percent. "Outstanding debut for us," Farrell said. "A number of swing-and-misses, with three different pitches -- fastball, cutter and his slider. He was efficient and as advertised. Strong competitor. Made a couple big pitches when he needed to." Saturday was a good start to Peavy's Red Sox career, and he said he's looking forward to pitching in even bigger games as the season goes on. There will be more mistakes and more yelling on the mound, but if Peavy continues to respond the way he did Saturday night, there will be more winning as well.