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Jake Peavy laments ‘heartbreaking’ inability to give his team a chance

10.17.13 at 2:50 am ET
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DETROIT — Red Sox starter Jake Peavy made no secret of his excitement for the opportunity to pitch in Game 4 of the ALCS. Thus it was that his disappointment was considerable when he laid an egg, allowing seven runs (the fourth-highest yield ever by a Sox starter) while pitching just three innings.

Peavy suggested that he felt like he had tremendous stuff, but that his pitches — particularly his sinker — were moving so much that he had a hard time harnessing them in the strike zone. The result was an uncharacteristic three walks in the five-run second inning, including a pair of four-pitch free passes: One to Jhonny Peralta with a runner on first and no outs, and one to Austin Jackson (who was dropped from leadoff to the eighth spot in the order for Game 4 after going 2-for-29 with a shocking 17 punchouts in 31 plate appearances over his prior seven games) with the bases loaded and one out.

“My sinker was really good tonight. I just had trouble reeling it in and throwing it where I wanted to throw it. You can’t give guys free passes,” Peavy sighed. “It’s heartbreaking to feel like you let down the guys tonight. But I’m not going to sit here and get down on myself. Nor is anybody else. We got beat tonight. As upsetting as it is, we’ve got a game in less than 24 hours that we’ve got to get ready for.”

Of course, there had been a chance that Peavy could have escaped the second with minimal damage had Dustin Pedroia been able to snare a Jose Iglesias smash cleanly to start a 4-6-3 double play. But Pedroia couldn’t squeeze the short-hop, and so when it trickled away, he could get only a force out at second, with the second run of the inning crossing. The Tigers then would add on three more runs with a pair of two-out hits.

Pedroia suggested that he was to blame for the considerable 5-0 hole in which the Sox found themselves at the end of that frame.

“The second inning, that’s my fault,” said Pedroia. “We’ve got to turn that double play.”

Peavy, however, would not let his teammate fall on the sword.

“You can put me out there with just Dustin Pedroia behind me as the lone defender and we’ll go to war,” said Peavy. “Obviously, the ball was hit hard. It was a tough play. If we do get the double play, we’re out of the inning. We all understand that. But that is absolutely not on him. I was the reason we were in that, in that I had a chance afterwards to pick him up and just didn’t make a good enough pitch to get out of that inning. Dustin’s our leader. We’re going to be together, going to have each others’ backs for sure. But this is on me and what I wasn’t able to execute tonight.”

Peavy suggested that he would be available out of the bullpen no later than by the time the series returns to Boston for Game 6 — an outcome that is now guaranteed.

“The way my pitch count was tonight I could pitch tomorrow if need be. [Games] 6 and 7 would be zero problem,” said Peavy. “Every part of me obviously wants another crack at getting back out there. My next start would be in the World Series. I’ll be ready here in a day or two to be used out of the bullpen if that’s something [manager John Farrell] was to consider.”

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