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NL West: Everything's Jake
Jake Peavy is back.
A year after the San Diego ace's ERA rose to an unreliable 4.09, Peavy has been nearly unhittable.
Peavy, who will turn 26 on May 31, struck out 10 while allowing four baserunners in seven shutout innings Sunday at Florida -- his third consecutive game with 10 or more strikeouts, as Corey Brock of MLB.com pointed out.
"If the Marlins felt as if they were strapped to an operating table Sunday, minus the anesthesia, it was because San Diego Padres pitcher Jake Peavy sliced them to shreds with a surgeon's precision," Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald wrote.
Peavy's ERA is now a sterling 1.75, and he has struck out 56 in 46 1/3 innings while allowing only one baserunner per inning -- and only one home run all season.
Brock writes that Padres insiders are partially crediting new addition Greg Maddux for teaching Peavy to pitch with greater efficiency. Maybe so, but Peavy's resurgence actually began in August. Entering the month with a 2006 ERA of 5.01 (including 7.12 in July), Peavy finished the rest of the season at 2.64, with 79 strikeouts in 78 1/3 innings. (Let the record show that in August, the legally blind Peavy got a new set of contact lenses after struggling to have a new prescription filled for the better part of the season.)
Peavy burst into the baseball consciousness in 2004 by leading the NL in ERA at age 23. Amazingly, he didn't get a single point in the Cy Young voting, but many have been waiting for him to take the award each year since -- until this year, when some began wondering what went wrong. Now, when it comes to Peavy, it's back to the Cy Young watch.
"He's got his arm back, he's healthy and he seems so much more relaxed," wrote Gaslamp Ball, a Padres blog. "You actually see him smiling out on the mound. Earlier in his career you could see him chewing himself out in a tight situation. This year if he misses a pitch you'll see him smile occasionally or just throw the next pitch. He still puts emotion into his game but he's learned to control it. He's just simply become a better pitcher than he ever was. We always knew he could throw, but now he can pitch."
Elsewhere around the division:
Labels: NL West
posted by SI.com | View comments |
Isn't it amazing how Roger Clemens can continue to pitch so well at his age? SI has a history pictoral on this site. Take a look. Is this guy on steroids or what? Maybe people haven't noticed because Bonds' head has been in the way.
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