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Jake Peavy frustrated with umpire’s call on fourth inning, two-out walk prior to HR

07.01.14 at 5:23 am ET
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Jake Peavy threw well on Monday, but a fourth inning two-run home run was all the offense the Cubs needed. (AP)

Jake Peavy threw well on Monday, but a fourth inning two-run home run was all the offense the Cubs needed. (AP)

The count was 3-2 and Jake Peavy was just one strike away from striking out the side in the fourth inning. To that point in the game, Peavy had regained some velocity on his fastball that was not present in his past couple of outings. Peavy felt good on the mound, confident that he would turn in a start that would give the Red Sox a chance to win.

Peavy pumped a 91 mph fastball to Cubs batter Welington Castillo right on the outside corner, over the white of the plate, and most importantly, right where Peavy and catcher David Ross wanted the pitch. Peavy waited for home plate umpire Chris Conroy to punch out Castillo.

He waited and waited.

The punch-out from Conroy never came and Castillo walked down to first base. Peavy walked around the mound, frustrated with the call on what he thought should have been strike three.

Eight pitches later, Peavy left a cutter over the heart of the plate and Nate Schierholtz deposited the ball into the Red Sox bullpen in right field to swing the game 2-0 in favor of the Cubs. Considering how Cubs starter Jake Arrieta was throwing and how much the Red Sox offense has struggled to generate runs, Schierholtz’s home run was all the offense Chicago needed.

Schierholtz’s blast marked the 17th home run this season off Peavy, who is tied for most home runs allowed in the American League with David Price of the Rays. The righty has allowed home runs in all but three of his 17 starts in 2014. Peavy said that the high home run total is inherent with his desire to have an aggressive game plan with each start.

“I’m going to be aggressive and throw the ball over the plate,” Peavy said. “I shouldn’t say that I don’t mind giving up home runs. You don’t ever want to. Not many of them have been like the [Kyle] Seager [three-run home run in Seattle]. If you give up one or two, as long as they are solo shots, no more than a two-run home run, you have a good chance of keeping your team in the game. It’s frustrating, and I relive the pitch [to Schierholtz] over and over. I wish that I had thrown something different and wish I had located it and things could have been different.”

Despite the one home run that Peavy allowed, Ross and Red Sox manager John Farrell said that Peavy pitched much better on Monday and showed marked signs of improvement.

“I thought [Peavy] and Ross worked well together,” Farrell said. “They had a good assortment and a very good pitch mix.”

Peavy went six innings, allowing five hits, two runs, two walks and seven strikeouts. It was a significant improvement from his last start against the Mariners with A.J. Pierzynski behind the plate, when he went five innings and allowed seven runs and two home runs while striking out three and walking two.

Peavy has strikingly stronger numbers in starts with Ross catching vs. starts when Pierzynski is behind the dish. In 46 innings with Ross, Peavy has a 3.91 ERA with a 2.56 strikeout-to-walk ratio, .232 opponent batting average, .272 opponent on-base percentage and 1.217 WHIP. With Pierzynski behind the plate in 58 2/3 innings, Peavy has a 5.52 ERA with a 1.75 strikeout-to-walk ratio, .305 opponent batting average, .370 opponent on-base percentage and 1.619 WHIP.

While Farrell said that Peavy and Ross work well as a tandem, the manager would not commit as to whether or not he would pair the duo together more frequently.

“[Monday] was a set of circumstances with the late-night arrival and A.J. catching [Sunday] night,” Farrell said. “That’s where the alignment came today. We’ll be open-minded to the matchups that might be beneficial to us going forward.”

Had Peavy received the benefit of the close call against Castillo in the fourth inning, he asserts that the complexion of the inning, and perhaps the game, would have changed dramatically. Peavy said all of the little things, like a missed strike three call, have a dramatic effect on the outcome of an outing, especially at a time when a team is struggling to score runs.

“You don’t want to lose, and when you made the mistake that costs the team the chance to win, it hurts,” Peavy said. “Little things, that I talked about with a number of guys, little things. You get that third called strike and the game could have played out differently. The way it has been going on my day, obviously, you don’t get the call and the next pitch you give up a two-run homer that decides the game. Just have to clean that up.”

Read More: A.J. Pierzynski, David Ross, jake peavy, John Farrell
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