Peavy's pride takes over vs. Halos
Right-hander mixes up pitches after four-run first inning
PEORIA -- Padres ace Jake Peavy took the mound Tuesday determined to work on fastball command, but that was before the Angels hung four runs on him in the first.
"I hate the fact that in Spring Training, you just get ambushed so much," Peavy said. "It drives me crazy."
It didn't take long for Peavy's pride to take over Tuesday.
"I couldn't let some of those guys go to bed tonight thinking, 'Man, he's kind of flat,'" Peavy said.
And so, while he continued to work on atypical pitch sequences and locations, Peavy began to mix in his other pitches. And so, over the final two frames, he didn't allow a hit and struck out three.
Mike Scioscia's Angels, as is their way, pressed the Padres on the basepaths at all times. Peavy allowed two steals, although one was a very close play at second base.
The Padres led the National League with a 3.70 ERA last year, but they also led the league with 189 steals allowed, 73 more than the next-worst team allowed, while only nabbing 20 runners (9.6 percent). Accordingly, Peavy and the rest of the staff are trying to work on stopping the running game this year.
"We weren't happy with guys running all over us last year. That being said, we led the league in ERA," Peavy said. "It's not that big of a concern, but we want to get better at it because we can."
Peavy said he tries to take about 1.35 seconds to the plate in his delivery. He can go faster, and he did in 2006, but by speeding his delivery up to about 1.2 seconds, his arm angle dropped slightly and he wasn't getting on top of the ball as well as he would have liked. Peavy helped catch 6-of-31 runners in 2006 and 2-of-23 last year.
"I want to find that happy medium, and today was a good day to work on that," Peavy said.
Bench coach Craig Colbert, acting as manager because Bud Black is on the China trip, said Peavy and catcher Josh Bard were actually very quick on their exchanges.
"With the one [steal by Nathan Haynes], Peavy was like a 1.24 and Bardo was a 2.08," Colbert said. "That's like a 3.4 (to second base), and you're flying if you can beat that."
The Angels can fly around the basepaths with the best of them, so Peavy got plenty of work in Tuesday. He hit his pitch count limit after just three innings.
"Sixty-five on the nose," Peavy said. "I was scheduled to throw 60 to 65. I didn't plan on throwing 40 in the first."
And so, while the competitor in Peavy might not like getting "ambushed" by first-pitch swingers, he had to admit that Tuesday offered him a great chance to work on many facets of his game.
"I got a ton out of it today," he said.
Mark Thoma is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.