-- This was not the outing Jake Peavy hoped would help springboard him into the regular season.
The Giants right-hander was knocked around for seven runs (six earned) on seven hits in 3 1/3 innings by the A’s in the Bay Bridge Series opener on Thursday night, walking three and giving up a home run. He finishes spring play with an unsightly ERA of 9.64.
Then again, Peavy said: "I had a great spring last year and went 1-9 to start (with the Red Sox) … So maybe we’re trying the opposite this year."
Peavy did not downplay his struggles Thursday night. He admitted they included "a little bit of everything," chiefly that his mechanics were off and his command of all his pitches was not good. But he clung to the redeeming fact that, come Sunday, the spring slate gets wiped clean.
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"I’ve got all the confidence in the world, you’re not going to get me off that," Peavy said. "You certainly don’t want your last dress rehearsal to be as tonight was. But that being said, it doesn’t count, and that’s the good news."
That was really the only good news for Peavy after this outing. He said fastball command was particularly off and contributed to the three walks, something that hadn’t been an issue for him this spring. He stuck with the four-seam changeup he began experimenting with recently, but threw only one for a strike. He said his pre-game bullpen session was "about as good as it could be," but it just didn’t translate into the game.
"He was off again tonight, I think it’s fair to say his stuff wasn’t there," manager Bruce Bochy said. "I know Jake -- he wasn’t quite hitting his spots, stuff was a little down today which happens in the spring. But there’s not another start before the season, so hopefully he’ll bounce back after this."
Peavy was supposed to be one of the more reliable parts of the Giants’ rotation, with Matt Cain and Tim Hudson both coming back from surgeries and Tim Lincecum rejoining the starters after losing his spot last year. Peavy said after he left Thursday’s game he looked at film of his good second-half starts last season and found some mechanical areas to fix.
He acknowledged there’s not much time to fine-tune before his first regular-season start in Arizona next week. But he vowed he’s "not going to read too much into" the way his spring ended.
"We’re going to do all we can do the next few days to work and get better," Peavy said. "The next time out there’s no excuses. We’ve got to find a way to win and beat the Diamondbacks. We’ve got our work cut out for us, but I’m not afraid to work, nor is anybody else around here.
"I expect to win in five days, I’ll tell you that."
* The Giants have not fared well in their meetings with the A’s this spring, and game one of the Bay Bridge series was no exception. The A’s jumped Peavy and held the Giants to a pair of solo homers -- by Angel Pagan and Brandon Belt -- in an 8-2 win.
Offensively, the Giants stranded Belt on third with one out in the second inning and left the bases loaded in the eighth. Bochy said that’s something the Giants need to clean up, and that especially with Hunter Pence out of the lineup, "it’s even more important I think that we do those little things."
Pagan’s homer -- off Scott Kazmir on a 2-0 fastball -- was a bright spot. Bochy pointed out that Pagan hasn’t had many at-bats against left-handers this spring, but he crushed Kazmir’s pitch and overall his swings looked better after he spent Wednesday in minor-league camp to get some extra at-bats.
* Ryan Vogelsong pitched three scoreless innings in relief with three strikeouts and one hit allowed. Bochy said at some point Vogelsong will likely have to come into a game in the middle of an inning -- it hasn’t happened this spring -- but that when it does, Bochy is confident the new reliever will be able to handle it.
* Speaking of Pence’s absence -- outfield replacement Justin Maxwell got his first taste of right field at AT&T Park on Thursday night, and he misplayed a carom off the wall that led to Sam Fuld tripling and scoring when Pagan bobbled the ball trying to pick it up. Hopefully for the Giants, as with Peavy, and with their overall play this spring, it only gets better from here.