ST. LOUIS — During the playoffs and World Series, Major League Baseball customarily offers press conferences that include the starting pitchers for the next day's game. Game 3 starter Jake Peavy of the Boston Red Sox brought his young sons, Jacob and Wyatt Peavy, to his shindig at Busch Stadium on Friday afternoon, saying the kids wanted to see what it was like to be treated like a big shot. Their presence also might have helped to remind Peavy that baseball isn't the most important thing in the world. It's still a close second, though, and Peavy says he realizes what's at stake when he makes his first career World Series appearance Saturday night against the St. Louis Cardinals.
"There's absolutely no excuses tomorrow night," Peavy said. "This is what I've lived for my whole life is to — my whole baseball career, I should say — to have this opportunity to go out there on the biggest stage and have a chance to help your team win a World Series game and a World Series title. I'm as prepared as I'll ever be."
Judging by his words, keeping perspective seems to come naturally to Peavy, who admitted to feeling distressed at the time about his previous outing in the American League Championship Series, which went about as poorly as possible. He allowed seven runs, five hits and three walks over three innings against the Detroit Tigers. The Red Sox lost that game but, obviously, here they are in the World Series anyway, tied with the Cardinals 1-all in the best-of-seven set.
Boston catcher David Ross also talked confidently about Peavy, saying he expects him to pitch more like he did against the Tampa Bay Rays in the division series round.
"Peav's a stud," Ross said. "He competes his tail off. I don't have to worry about him. He pitched really well for us in Tampa Bay, got away from some of the stuff the normally does in Detroit. We've talked about that, because we go way back. I know him a little deeper than some of these guys know him. I look for him to have a good day."
Peavy says he has gotten over the disappointment of an outing that caused his career ERA in the postseason balloon to 10.31. While that's only four starts, spread over three seasons going back to 2005 when he pitched for the Padres, the playoffs are no time to use the crutch of sample size. There's only one Game 3 of the 2013 World Series, and the Red Sox need Peavy to be better than he has been. While not Cy Young caliber anymore, Peavy certainly still is capable of delivering an exceptional performance. The game's importance doesn't make the assignment much tougher.
"Obviously I'm an emotional guy, but at the same time I'm 13 years into this, and I'm excited as I ever will be for a start to go out there tomorrow," Peavy said. "But there's not going to be a situation that I get overwhelmed in and get too emotional and let the emotions of the moment beat me up. I just feel like I've been in enough situations over the years that there's nothing tomorrow night that's going to rattle me or get in my head."
Since the outing against the Tigers on Oct. 16, Peavy and pitching coach Juan Nieves have addressed a mechanical issue — Peavy was rushing his delivery — and have gotten it "fixed."
All that's left is the heavily cliched "making his pitches" part. Peavy promises to remember: The World Series is a big deal. It's just not that big.
"Obviously you feel a little bit different, but once you get in the swing of the game tomorrow night, it will be another game and we'll get in the feel of it," Peavy said. "Just a little more intensity, a little more adrenaline from the fans and a little more hype around it. But, yeah, this is the biggest game I've pitched."
And the Red Sox are counting on Peavy to come up just as big.
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