San Francisco Giants

Peavy, other former Red Sox figure in NLCS

Giants manager Bruce Bochy is introduced before Game 1 of the National League Championship Series against the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday. San Francisco won 3-0.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy is introduced before Game 1 of the National League Championship Series against the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday. San Francisco won 3-0. The Associated Press

Before the Boston Red Sox traded him to the Giants this July, right-hander Jake Peavy said he thought he might be headed for another National League destination.

“About a week or so before the actual deal happened, I thought I could possibly come here,” Peavy said Saturday while sitting in the interview room at Busch Stadium, home of the St. Louis Cardinals. “I thought it was really close, to be honest with you.”

Instead, the Red Sox dealt Peavy to San Francisco, and today the right-hander will start against the Cardinals and right-hander Lance Lynn in Game 2 of the N.L. Championship Series.

The Peavy trade was part of a flurry of moves near the trade deadline by the defending World Series champion Red Sox. Five days later, Boston sent fellow right-hander John Lackey to the Cardinals. Lackey is scheduled to start Game 3 against the Giants in San Francisco on Tuesday.

Another player who started the season with Boston, catcher A.J. Pierzynski, signed with the Cardinals as a free agent in July. Pierzynski, added to the Cardinals’ NLCS roster on Friday, had this assessment of Peavy’s season with the Red Sox before the trade: “He didn’t win games, but he was in a lot of games. The 1-9 (record), I think, was a little deceiving.”

The Giants thought so, too, and acquired Peavy to replace injured Matt Cain. Peavy went 6-4 with a 2.17 ERA in 12 regular-season starts after the trade and took the ball in Game 1 of the N.L. Division Series in Washington, throwing 52/3 scoreless innings in the Giants’ win.

“Boch figured him out,” Pierzynski theorized about Giants manager Bruce Bochy.

Asked by a national media contingent Saturday to explain his turnaround, Peavy agreed that being reunited with Bochy – his first manager in San Diego – was a key, as were mechanical adjustments made with Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti.

“And also, our catcher is a special player,” Peavy said of Buster Posey. “When you find the right chemistry and groove with a good player like that, who cares and plays that position, it can take your game to another level. And he can get the most out of you.”

– As for the starter he’ll oppose today, Peavy harkened back to his start on June 13, 2012, in St. Louis. Peavy, then pitching for the Chicago White Sox, allowed one run in seven innings but lost a 1-0 decision to the Cardinals. St. Louis’ starter that day was Lynn.

“He was using an explosive fastball, and guys that I thought were good fastball hitters weren’t able to get to it,” Peavy recalled. “He’s a special, special arm.”

Lynn, though, has struggled against the Giants in his career. In three regular-season starts against San Francisco, Lynn is 0-3 and has allowed 13 runs on 20 hits in 142/3 innings.

Lynn also started Game 5 of the 2012 NLCS and, with the Cardinals up 3-1 on the Giants and trying to clinch at home, was knocked out in the fourth inning.

“I know that we had a chance to win that series and I didn’t get the job done,” Lynn said Saturday. “Whenever you don’t get the job done, it definitely is something that you don’t forget.”

Morse report – The Giants finalized their roster for the series before Game 1 with one change from the NLDS, adding outfielder Michael Morse and removing outfielder Gary Brown.

While confident Morse is recovered from his oblique strain, Bochy said it’s unlikely he’ll start in left field against the Cardinals. Morse appeared in just one game after Aug. 31, and Bochy said he expects “a lot of tight games” in this series, mostly with Travis Ishikawa in left.

“If we feel like we need to add a bit more offense, you could see (Morse) out there,” Bochy said. “But the plan right now in the early go is to use him off the bench.”

Quick retort – Toward the end of his media session, Peavy was answering a question on how Bochy has changed since their time together in San Diego when Bochy walked into the room. Peavy, not missing a beat, said: “He’s gotten older, grayer ….”

Bochy, from the corner, interjected: “Better lookin’!”

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