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BOSTON (CBS) - When Jake Peavy was traded to the Boston Red Sox in July, he was hoping to get an opportunity to pitch for a championship.
That opportunity comes Saturday night in St. Louis, when the 32-year-old Peavy gets the start in Game 3 against the Cardinals. With things all knotted at 1-1, not only is it the biggest game of his career but it’s now the biggest game of the season for Boston.
“This is why I play the game,” Peavy said Friday shortly after the team arrived in St. Louis. “This is why we all, I would like to think, play the game, to be a world champion; to be the best in the world at what you do at the highest level.”
“I’m as prepared as I’ll ever be, physically, mentally, and we’ll go out there and see if we can execute pitch by pitch, and find a way to win.”
Despite the 12-years of MLB service, Peavy has just four career postseason starts with half of them coming this season. He’s a career 0-3 in the playoffs after being tagged with the loss in Game 4 of the ALCS against the Detroit Tigers. Peavy allowed seven earned runs in just three innings, ballooning his career postseason ERA up to 10.31.
After getting knocked out so early against the Tigers, one would think the always-eager Peavy would be just a little bit more amped up to take the mound. But he maintained on Friday that he has no extra motivation for this next start.
“There’s no sour taste; I’m in the World Series and my team won the ALCS. I’m excited and just got prepared for this one as I would always be prepared,” he said. “I do understand that you have those starts throughout the year and obviously in the postseason, but after the start in Tampa, I was just as anxious to get back out there after a start where I felt in control and did my job as best I could do it. I was just as anxious to get out in Detroit as I am getting off a not‑so‑good start to get out there in the World Series.”
Watching Peavy go to work, you’ll notice he is more animated than most on the mound. He’ll often hold mini-converstaions with himself, upset if a pitch misses or fired up when one paints the corner. And though the adrenaline will be pumping as he takes the hill for the first time on the big stage of the fall classic, Peavy says nothing will rattle him.
“There’s not going to be a situation that I get overwhelmed in and get too emotional and let the emotions of the moment beat me up,” he said. “I just feel like I’ve been in enough situations over the years that there’s nothing tomorrow night that’s going to rattle me or get in my head, or it doesn’t matter how loud the crowd is.”
Peavy is no stranger to pitching in St. Louis after spending the first seven years of his career with the San Diego Padres. He’s a career 4-5 against the Cardinals with a 2.97 ERA, though just 1-2 in the new Busch Stadium. Peavy has had success against Cardinals’ sluggers Matt Holliday and Yadier Molina, who are a combined 12-for-50 against him in their careers, but Carlos Beltran is hitting .400 off the Boston righty in 20 career at-bats.
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But all that will matter to Peavy on Saturday is how he executes on the mound. He’s put in the work and made the minor adjustments in the nine days since his last start in Detroit, and knows just what’s at stake with the series tied at a game apiece.
“There’s absolutely no excuses,” Peavy said. “This is what I’ve lived for my whole life is to‑‑ my whole baseball career, I should say, to have this opportunity to go out there on the biggest stage and have a chance to help your team win a World Series game and a World Series title.”
Right-hander Joe Kelly (0-1, 4.41 ERA in the postseason) will get the start for the Cardinals on Saturday.
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