His two-seam fastball drifted up in the zone, and he couldn't quite throw it in enough on left-handed hitters. He started it on the inside corner, and the good left-to-right movement put it right over the heart of the plate. Lefties Cedric Hunter and Mike Baxter jumped on him for an RBI double and a two-run homer in the fourth inning, pinning three runs on Peavy in his final inning of work.
Prior to that point, he looked good. While he had trouble spotting his fastball, his slider was getting several swings and misses, against both righties and lefties. Mark Gonzales said his fastball ranged from 89 to 93 mph, which is right in line.
Better yet, he feels good. His postgame interview is quite thorough, and the quotes about the kinds of pitches he made aren't included in any of the recaps.
After watching it, compare it to his interview after his second start, where he was ultimately positive, but with a few reservations.
One reason for the big step forward might be a reduction in his between-start workload. ESPN.com's Amy K. Nelson, who has been following Peavy's progress closely (and wrote a great article on the surgery last week, among many good Peavy links shared by TP), appeared on Baseball Tonight to follow up after Peavy's start today. Long story short, he was both rehabbing from his injury and participating in workouts with the rest of the starters, so he ditched the former. More video after the jump.
I've tempered my expectations about Peavy, but he's made three starts, and he says it's getting easier for him. He might be a little behind other starters -- for instance, John Danks' cutter looked ready for Opening Day by all accounts -- but he has an extra week to get ready. That could very well be enough time. Jose Contreras might have needed a full month of the season to get sharp back in 2009, but he didn't make his first spring start until March 15. Peavy already has three under his belt, so I'm starting to believe in his self-evaluations.
"I'm very optimistic he's going to be out there," Guillen said. "But realistically, I have to be prepared for Plan B. I'm the manager of the ballclub. We want him there very badly. But is it necessary we take the risk? That's the question we have to put in the air. That's a decision we have to make as an organization.
"That's one we have to make with the medical reports, with the trainers. It's not a decision that just comes from Ozzie. It has to come from everyone in the organization and that's why we have to be careful."
Given that Peavy overruled Guillen a couple of times last season, it's Guillen's turn to go with his gut. He's the last line of defense against premature exuberance, and it's good to see him taking it seriously. In the most crucial of spring situations, everybody's making considerable strides.
The Sox made eight more cuts:
- To Charlotte: Eduardo Escobar, Stefan Gartrell, Anthony Carter, Freddy Dolsi.
- To Birmingham: Kyle Cofield, Nate Jones.
- To Be Determined: Brandon Hynick and Miguel Socolovich.
Escobar collected only four hits in 21 at-bats, but Guillen still liked the cut of his jib, thanks to his defense and hustle. (Mandatory note: Escobar struck out five times, which is neither good nor bad.)
Carter and Gartrell did about all they could be expected to do, which separates them from the rest of the pack. When I see Cofield and Socolovich listed in this round, the first thing I thought was, "Wow, these guys were cut after Lucas Harrell." That just goes to show you how most displeased Guillen was with Harrell's effort.
Among the noteworthy survivors: Jeff Marquez (10 strikeouts, one walk over 7 1/3 innings!) and Shane Lindsay (chunder!).
Christian Marrero Reading Room
*James is jumping on the Peavy-is-fine bandwagon.
*Brent Morel, whose sluggish start I highlighted yesterday, began his road to redemption by going 2-for-4 with an RBI. Ken Rosenthal writes the Sox are looking to deal Mark Teahen. That shouldn't be a surprise, but I wonder if Morel's slow start dampened Kenny Wililams' efforts on that front.
*J.J. is leaving the Examiner network (thank God). Here's hoping his next move nets him a reliable URL and cuts down on the pop-up ads by at least 50 percent.
*Scott Reifert connected Cisco Carlos with a high school teammate.