SAN FRANCISCO -- Jake Peavy has a 2014 World Series ring to show for his season and a half in a Giants uniform. But he has also seen the Los Angeles Dodgers claim the N.L. West title each of the past two years, and that doesn’t sit well with the competitive right-hander.
The Giants and Dodgers again look like early front-runners in the division, and they’ll meet each other for the first time this season starting next Thursday in the Giants’ first home series. And the starting assignment for the home opener, as it lines up, will go to Peavy, who said the prospect still excites him in his 15th season.
"Anytime you get a chance to start your home opener, it’s special," Peavy said. "You get it versus the Dodgers -- you can’t draw it up much better than that, as far as the intensity and the rivalry goes.
"We’re gunning for that division title, and you’ve got to win in your division. Any opponent’s going to be special, but when it’s your rival, and your division rival, it adds that much more to it."
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Peavy made his final spring training start Friday night in the Giants’ 3-0 win over the A’s and threw five scoreless innings. He allowed two hits and a walk and struck out three in matching rotation mate Jeff Samardzija, who also threw five innings without giving up a run Thursday night.
The Giants left Arizona with one of the highest spring training ERAs in the majors. But returning to the denser air and regular-season atmosphere of AT&T Park has seemed to benefit the pitching staff, which has held the A’s to one run over 18 innings this series.
"All of them have really picked it up and thrown the ball well here this past week or 10 days, all finishing up on a good note," manager Bruce Bochy said. "Good effort by Jake. He really hit his spots well, did a great job of pitching."
Peavy finished spring with a 6.11 ERA but said it’s useless to draw any conclusion from spring numbers, especially with a rotation like the Giants’ made up of veterans who are not competing for jobs. For them, the competition starts Monday, when the Giants open on the road in Milwaukee before returning home for the big four-game series against the Dodgers.
"But it’s fun seeing us string together some quality starts," Peavy said. "We hope the regular season looks a lot like the past few days."
Posey ready -- Buster Posey stayed in Friday’s game long enough to catch Peavy’s entire outing, then was replaced by backup Trevor Brown. Bochy said that was planned and that it’s evident from Posey’s past few games that he’s ready to start the season. Over the first two games of this series, Posey has five hits.
"He’s one of those guys that doesn’t need a lot of at-bats in the spring," Bochy said. "It’s a simple swing. I wasn’t concerned about the number of at-batas with him, just wanted to take care of him behind the plate."
Outfield too -- Bochy also saw encouraging signs from Denard Span, who closed quickly on a shallow fly ball in center field, and Angel Pagan, who seemed to have no problems judging a pair of sharp line drives and continues to look comfortable at his new position in left. Span was held back early this spring after having hip surgery late last season.
"I think (Span’s) legs are where they need to be, and Pagan too," Bochy said. "Our defense was good … We like where they’re at in the outfield."