The acquisition of former Cy Young Award winner Jake Peavy(notes) last season had Chicago White Sox fans excited over the prospect of a powerful 1-2 punch atop the team’s rotation. They needed to be patient in order to get a chance to see it.
Acquired from San Diego on July 31, Peavy (3-0, 1.35 ERA) was out at the time with an ankle tendon injury that limited him to 13 starts with the Padres. The right-hander, though, returned in September and won all three of his starts in dominant fashion, giving the club hope that he would anchor the pitching staff along with Mark Buehrle(notes) this season.
“I’m excited to start this chapter of my career,” said Peavy, the 2007 NL Cy Young winner. “I’m part of something that we hope is going to be special and we believe in the group that we have assembled. We believe we can accomplish some cool things, and that starts with winning the (AL) Central.”
Peavy will be looking to match the performance of Buehrle in the White Sox’s opener Monday, when the left-hander pitched three-hit ball over seven innings of a 6-0 home win over the Indians.
While Peavy is looking to return to his workhorse ways, Carmona hopes to recapture the form that allowed him to go 19-8 with a 3.06 ERA in 2007. He struggled with his command the last two seasons and was 5-12 with a 6.32 ERA last year, when Cleveland sent him to the minors for nearly two months to work on his control.
Carmona was recalled on the same day Peavy was dealt to the White Sox. While he continued to struggle at times, he turned in strong outings in each of his final two starts, the last a 5-1 victory over Chicago on Sept. 30 in which he gave up one run in seven innings.
Carmona appeared to carry his late-season success into spring training, going 3-0 with 1.38 ERA.
“I’m ready to go,” Carmona told the team’s official Web site. “I’m taking it easy on the mound and throwing strikes. I’m not trying to do too much. I want to do the same thing here that I did in spring training. I’m not going to change anything.”
The Indians would like to change their results at the plate after being shut down in the opener. Their last 10 batters to face Buehrle made outs and the club totaled four hits - all singles.
Cleveland will look to center fielder Grady Sizemore(notes) and second baseman Mark Grudzielanek(notes) to continue their success against Peavy. Sizemore is 3 for 3 with a home run and a triple off him, while Grudzielanek, who went 1 for 3 on opening day, is 5 for 11 with a double and a triple versus the right-hander.
While Carmona only faced the White Sox once last season, he has won his last four starts against them with a 2.03 ERA. He will be trying to shut down third baseman Mark Teahen(notes), who has batted .370 (10 for 27) against him, and catcher A.J. Pierzynski(notes), a .375 hitter (6 for 16) versus the right-hander.
Pierzynski has a seven-game hitting streak against Cleveland, batting .367 (11 for 30) with two homers and four RBIs in that span.
Peavy, 1-1 with a 5.91 ERA against the Indians, has not faced them since 2005.