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Sick Jake Peavy overcomes illness, control struggles for quality start

05.08.14 at 12:41 am ET
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It certainly wasn’€™t Jake Peavy‘€™s most dominant start of the season, but he got the job done and kept the Red Sox in a tight ballgame on Wednesday night.

Peavy went six-plus innings, allowing three earned runs to deliver his sixth quality start in seven outings this year. He held a diminished Reds offense to just four hits, but he also walked four on the evening. Peavy left with the bases loaded in the seventh, with one of those runners coming around to score. Ultimately, though not overpowering, Peavy gave his team an opportunity to claim a 4-3 come-from-behind victory against the Reds.

“€œI wanted to pitch deep in the game and tried a little something new, moving on the rubber,”€ Peavy said. “€œWe battled. A great job by the bullpen, got some timely hits late after we squandered away some opportunities early. Great team win, excited that we climbed back to .500 going into an off-day, it’€™s always nice to end this homestand on a winning note.”€

The outing was a labor for Peavy, who was feeling under the weather. While Will Middlebrooks was knocking in the go-ahead run, Peavy was in the clubhouse, receiving fluids and feeling the effects of dehydration.

Aside from illness, a couple things that have been plaguing Peavy all season were evident again on Wednesday night. First of all, he’€™s been giving up an uncharacteristically high amount of walks. The righty has finished the last three seasons with consistently low walk rates (1.9 per nine innings, 2.0 per nine and 2.2 per nine in 2011-13 respectively), but this year, he’€™s walked four batters in a game five times. No other pitcher in the majors has done that more than three times. While his strikeout numbers fall right in line with his career mark (and are up a tick from the second half of 2013), he’€™s averaging more than twice as many walks per nine innings as he did in 2013.

The four free passes given out by Peavy on Wednesday night didn’€™t hurt him directly, but he did walk Ryan Ludwick, the last batter he faced, to load the bases in the seventh inning. Even though Chris Capuano came in and induced a ground ball out, the go-ahead run at the time crossed the plate.

“€œI didn’€™t want to put my team in the position I did there in the seventh,” Peavy said. “But at the end of the day that’€™s why we’€™re a team and sometimes you’€™re not going to be able to get it done on your own and that was obviously the case tonight.”€

Home runs have also been a problem for Peavy, who has given up seven in his 43 2/3 innings this season, including a two-run shot off the bat of Skip Schumaker on Wednesday. He’€™s tied for fourth in the American League in home runs allowed.

Despite the quality outings Peavy has been able to deliver, the righty has just one win to show for his efforts. But Peavy dismisses the importance of his personal record.

“€œI’€™m not worried about that,” he said. “€œI’€™m worried about wins and losses on this day. We grinded it out. At the end of the day we believe in all 25 men in this room and we believe, like I said, we can play even better than we have and we expect to here in the next few months.”

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