Sunday, October 12, 2014

On The Mound, Jake Peavy

Tonight the San Francisco Giants will seek to match the Kansas City Royals: Wild card team, winning on the road to take a 2-0 lead in their Championship Series. Here is a list of teams that have lost the first two home games of a seven-game Championship Series (it was a best-of-five series from 1969 to 1984) that have gone on to win:

That's right, none. If the Orioles come back against the Royals, they'll be the first team to have accomplished it. The Giants are trying to put the Cardinals into the same situation.

Pitching for the Giants will be Jake Peavy, whom they acquired from the Red Sox for two minor leaguers on July 26. His performance before and after the trade has been an interesting contrast:
BOS AL 1 9 4.72 20 20 124.0 131 67 65 20 46 1 100 1.427
SFG NL 6 4 2.17 12 12 78.2 65 24 19 3 17 1 58 1.042
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 10/12/2014.

Adjusted for league and ballpark, his ERA was 18% worse than the AL average with Boston, 61% better than the NL average with San Francisco.

Here's his breakdown against the Cardinals:

St. Louis Cardinals342.979957.25024199180611.179
Everyone Else1361073.543293262090.018518668242206294019661.187
St. Louis - Postseason0210.133313.125151535292.250
Generated 10/12/2014.

I imagine people are going to make a big deal about that postseason record against the Cardinals. I'd ignore it for three reasons. First, three games are not enough to draw a conclusion about anything. Second, his regular season record against the Cardinals--which is still not large enough to be meaningful--indicates no particular problem, and it was all compiled before he was traded from the National League to the American in 2009. At that point, the Cardinals had, if I counted correctly, only two batters who are still with the team today (catcher Yadier Molina and left fielder Matt Holliday), so the prior record's not really all that relevant. Third, two of those postseason games occurred in 2005 and 2006 when Peavy was a young pitcher with the Padres. He's not the same pitcher today at 33, when he ranked 51 of 88 ERA qualifiers with 7.0 strikeouts per nine innings pitched, that he was back then at 24 and 25, when he led the league with 9.6. 

He did look decent against Washington in the Divisional Series opener, giving up no runs in 5.2 innings, though he struck out only three and walked the same number, running his pitch count up to 104 and getting strikes on only 60% of his pitches (the league average was 64%). So I'd disregard his line from those three games against the Cardinals--two from long ago--but at the same time assume a busier evening for the Giants bullpen than last night, when Madison Bumgarner lasted until there were two outs in the eighth.

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