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With Red Sox rotation in flux, Jake Peavy steps up, overpowers Braves

05.30.14 at 8:01 am ET
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The game plan for Jake Peavy was relatively simple: Attack the Braves lineup the same way John Lackey had on Wednesday. Peavy went into Thursday knowing that he needed to challenge the Braves with a high-percentage mix of his fastballs and cutters. After seeing the success that Lackey had with the mix between his fastball and slider during 6 1/3 shutout innings, Peavy and catcher David Ross formulated a similar attack plan.

Through his eight innings Thursday en route to a 4-3 Red Sox victory, Peavy executed that strategy, nearly to a cue. In his outing Peavy threw mostly fastballs and cutters, throwing a total of eight breaking balls and an astounding 91.9 percent fastballs or cutters.

“It’s just all game-planning,” Peavy said. “You game-plan towards a team, and with Atlanta, that was our game plan. Me and [Lackey] go about it in different ways. My hard stuff is a little bit different than his movement-wise, but at the end of the day, a scouting report is a scouting report and you’re going to mimic as much as you can the guy before you who had a lot of success.”

Prior to his start on Thursday, Peavy had been struggling in May, posting a 6.59 ERA with opponents batting .313/.373/.518 with 16 strikeouts and 12 walks in 28 2/3 innings. While the outcome on Thursday was much better for Peavy, the righty said that he did not make a lot of adjustments. Peavy said that the change in outcome had a lot to do with receiving more breaks than he had in his previous starts.

“We made a lot of good pitches in Tampa and just hadn’t been catching any breaks,” Peavy said. “Miguel Cabrera, three starts ago, just loops that ball in and that leads to three runs right there with [Victor Martinez] hitting a home run that inning. If we get out of that inning, it’s a different story. We would’ve won the game in Tampa if we didn’t have two balls hit off the turf, we win that game and we’re not talking about it being a bad start. Tonight, we could’ve caught some breaks as well and been better than it was, but at least we were able to find a way to win this one.”

Peavy did not seemed concerned with the fact that he received a no-decision in the walkoff victory. The righty was more focused on the fact that the team won its fourth straight game for the first time this season.

“I’m not worried about my win-loss record or stats,” Peavy said. “We needed a win and we need a win tomorrow. The boys battled hard. Their guy did a really good job, but we stayed in it, caught some breaks early, got some big hits late and caught some breaks there and got some breaks there in the ninth.”

Manager John Farrell says that Peavy is the type of veteran pitcher who he has set a certain standard for each and every single start.

“[Peavy]‘s a veteran guy that you begin to have a certain expectation and dependability that Jake has shown through the course of his career,” Farrell said. “We need every starter, regardless of who it is to keep the game under control and in cases like tonight, when you can work deep into a ball game, just give some much needed rest to the guys in the pen.”

Despite the win, Peavy was frustrated with a balk that second base umpire Bob Davidson called. That moved Freddie Freeman into scoring position and subsequently allowed him to score on an Evan Gattis single.

Both Peavy and Ross did not see what triggered Davidson to call a balk.

“I didn’t do anything,” Peavy said. “I didn’t feel anything. I didn’t move. I didn’t feel like I made any kind of balk move at all. Bob Davidson likes calling balks. I think we’ve established that at this point in time. I didn’t feel any big movement or anything that would insinuate a balk there. Went back and looked at it, still don’t think I balked. Nah, I didn’t get an explanation. I was too upset and I thought I should probably not talk to Bob anymore after it was over.”

“I didn’t see anything, honestly, and neither did the home plate umpire,” Ross said. “Must’ve been something with his … I don’t know what it was. Got to go ask Bob that. Go wake up Bob.”

With injuries to Clay Buchholz and Felix Doubront, the Red Sox will look to Peavy to help lead the pitching staff. Peavy knows what his role is for the team while both Buchholz and Doubront sit out.

“With Clay and [Doubront] falling on some hard times and some injuries, we’ve got to do our part,” Peavy said. “We believe in [Brandon Workman] and whoever makes the start for Buchholz. We know, as starters, that we have to go out and give the team those efforts to win. Lester and Lackey have been doing that and I expect to do the same.”

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