When the Boston Red Sox traded young shortstop Jose Iglesias on July 30, their eyes weren't on the future. They were on the postseason. The Red Sox obtained Jake Peavy in that three-team trade with the Chicago White Sox and, coincidentally, their current ALCS opponent, the Detroit Tigers.
And on Wednesday, Peavy finds himself right where the Red Sox wanted him. On the mound. In the postseason. With his team looking to come one step closer to a World Series. The Red Sox have a 2-1 lead in the ALCS against the Tigers, who send Doug Fister (14-9, 3.69 ERA) to the mound. Nothing against Fister, but you can bet the Red Sox would rather have a Cy Young winner going.
"When you get traded you know you're going to a contender and this is what, as a competitor, as a baseball player, playing at the highest level, you dream of being able to do," Peavy said in a press conference before Game 3. "Pitch in games that mean the world to your teammates, to yourself, to your coaching staff and your fan base. I promise you this, every part of me will be ready to go."
If Peavy weren't around, the Red Sox would likely be pitching Félix Doubront (11-6, 4.32 ERA) or Ryan Dempster (8-9, 4.57 ERA). Peavy is a bit removed from his Cy Young days, but he's still a guy capable of throwing a complete-game three-hitter like he did Aug. 25. He finished the season 12-5 with a 4.17 ERA.
Game 4 will be Peavy's second start this postseason (and fourth of his career) — he was on the mound for the Red Sox's ALDS clincher against the Tampa Bay Rays and pitched 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball.
But Peavy has been watching the first three games of this series, he's seen how insanely close they've been and he knows what he's up against. Consider this quote from Jeff Passan's most recent column:
"After Game 2, I felt like I'd been in a heavyweight fight, and I hadn't even participated in the game," Peavy said. "Game 1 came down to the final at-bat. It's the way it should be. I really think that. You're looking at two heavyweights out there slugging it out. Both these ball clubs are so complete on all sides of the ball."
Peavy has faced the Tigers a bit, coming over from the AL Central. His history against Detroit is one thing Tigers fans can be hopeful about heading into Game 4. In the past three seasons, he's 2-4 with a 6.18 ERA in 55 innings. However, the only time he faced Detroit this season, he gave up four hits on four runs in seven innings and earned a W.
Given that we've seen two 1-0 games in this series so far, the Tigers would be happy to get four runs off Peavy (or anyone, really) in Game 4.
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