CHICAGO – Added rest in the thick of a heated playoff race was the farthest thing from Jake Peavy’s mind.
But in the best interest of the team – and without consulting Peavy – the White Sox decided it would be best to start him today against the Tampa Bay Rays instead of Wednesday’s series finale against the Cleveland Indians. Although there was no dialogue between Peavy and the coaches, he understood the decision.
The Indians’ success off right-handed pitchers partly influenced the decision to push back Peavy. Cleveland is hitting .260 against right-handers this season compared to .230 against left-handers.
Peavy has pitched on five or more days of rest 19 times this season.
“Any time you get an extra day, you feel a little more recovered,” Peavy said. “You do more stuff in the training room and make your body feel better than it did in the four days, but it still not a problem pitching on four days by any means. I’m excited about pitching [Thursday] and getting prepared for a tough Tampa team. Up against James Shields, runs are going to be at a premium, which most of our games runs are at a premium.”
Battle for playoffs: While the Sox’s postseason hopes remain precarious, Peavy reiterated Wednesday that the Sox are a playoff-caliber team.
They haven’t looked the part lately, and with seven games remaining in the regular season the Sox’s offense needs to produce. Despite batting a sixth-best .272 with runners in scoring position this season, the Sox are hitting a paltry .174 in their past 19 games.
Should the Sox overcome the Tigers to win the division, Peavy says the Sox can be a dangerous team.
“If we hit some homers with some guys on base, with the pitching staff and the bullpen evolving the way it’s evolved, and we have a few starters that can get on a roll, and the teams going to the playoffs, other than Baltimore, I think we all have winning records against them,” Peavy said. “We can play with any team in baseball on any given day. I’d love to have a chance to be in the playoffs.”
Quick hits: The Sox’s Sunday starter against the Rays is still listed as TBA after Chris Sale was moved to Saturday. Francisco Liriano is a likely candidate to make the start. … Their final home series of the year begins today against Tampa Bay, a team they are 16-10 against since 2009, including a 3-0 mark this season.