SAN FRANCISCO -- Jake Peavy was able to find the silver lining after a short start Thursday.
“I had a great spring last year and then went 1-9,” he said of his time with the Red Sox. “Maybe we’ll try the opposite this year.”
The Giants hope that’s the case when Peavy takes the ball next Tuesday in Phoenix. Peavy didn’t make it out of the fourth inning of an 8-2 loss to the A’s, giving up seven runs on seven hits and three walks. Peavy has allowed 21 earned runs in 23 2/3 innings this spring, his first with the Giants.
“It’s gotta get better,” he said. The bullpen session before (the game) was about as good as it could be, and when I tried to turn it up that little bit during the game, it wasn’t there.”
Peavy, 33, is confident the switch will be flipped when the games count. He has no other choice. The Giants will go as far as this question-mark-filled staff takes them, and Peavy is slotted near the top.
“I’ve got all the confidence in the world,” he said. “You’re not going to get me off of that just because that’s the way you’ve got to be. I certainly don’t want my last dress rehearsal to be like it was tonight, but that being said, it doesn’t count.”
The A’s have beat up on the Giants all spring and they jumped on Peavy early. The right-hander didn’t have a clean inning, giving up three runs in the second on three extra-base hits (including a Marcus Semien homer) and then getting charged with four more runs in the fourth. That inning started with consecutive walks and a Billy Burns double on the new four-seam changeup Peavy is trying to throw.
Peavy said his cutter was the only pitch that didn’t really fail him. His fastball command was the biggest issue. Asked what specifically went wrong, he said a “little bit of everything,” then cited mechanical issues.
This isn’t the first time Peavy has been shelled in a spring finale. He said he gave up four homers one year while pitching for the Padres, but rebounded to pitch seven strong innings and beat Jason Schmidt and the Giants on Opening Day. That was nearly a decade ago, but Peavy’s confidence remains.
“If this stuff is happening early in the season then we’ve got problems,” he said. “And we’ll go from there.”
Starting pitching report: See above. It wasn’t good. More than anything, the Giants have to be concerned that Peavy’s fastball was 87-89 throughout the night, with mostly 87s by the end. He averaged 89.9 MPH last season, per FanGraphs, topping out at 93.2. Peavy has been fighting a “dead arm” late in the spring.
“It feels OK,” he said when asked about his arm. “The body feels OK. We’ll get it hopefully better and ready to go in a few days.”
Bullpen report: The Giants like top prospects to get their feet wet during the Bay Bridge Series, so Steven Okert was called upon to try and get Peavy out of the fourth-inning mess. It was Okert’s first time pitching in an MLB stadium as a professional. The hard-throwing lefty wasn’t able to strand two of Peavy’s runners, but he struck out the left-handed-hitting Ike Davis with a nasty slider.
Ryan Vogelsong was the bright spot of the night, pitching three one-hit innings. Vogelsong, a long reliever in the current setup, walked one and struck out three.
At the plate: Angel Pagan must have heard Bruce Bochy tell the media that Pagan might hit fifth against left-handed hitters. The center fielder (who hit third tonight) crushed a Scott Kazmir offering to deep left-center in the fourth. Brandon Belt added a solo homer off switch-pitcher Pat Venditte.
Other than that, well, the garlic fries were probably good out there tonight. Giants fans didn’t have a whole lot to cheer about. The execution has been awful all spring, and newcomers Casey McGehee and Justin Maxwell stranded Belt at third with one out in the second inning. The Giants later failed to score after loading the bases with one out in the eighth.
In the field: Welcome to AT&T Park, Justin Maxwell. The newest Giants outfielder got a start against the left-handed Kazmir but learned the hard way that right field here is different than everywhere else. Maxwell got way too close to the wall on Sam Fuld’s high fly to right and was stuck watching as the ball carried to the wall and then bounced back toward the infield. Pagan bobbled the ball as he ran over to try and back up Maxwell and Fuld scored standing up on what was ruled a triple and E8.
Attendance: The Giants announced a crowd of 41,581. Some of them decided to sing along when “Don’t Stop Believin’” was played with the Giants trailing an exhibition game 7-1.
Up next: Another one of these, with a twist. Matt Cain makes his first start at AT&T Park since July 9 of last season. He gave up two runs over six innings against the A’s that night but didn’t pitch again, undergoing elbow and ankle surgeries. Kendall Graveman, who was part of the Josh Donaldson trade, goes for the A’s.